Middle-aged men crowded around a TV in the Maazullah Khan Cricket Academy in Peshawar. Their bright eyes were on the screen’s stubbled young man. As the bowler approached, he fidgeted with his helmet, rehearsed his shots, and tapped the turf.
Mohammad Haris, the group’s only batsman, hit the first ball to extra cover. Pervez Khan, Haris’ boyhood coach, told The Indian Express how it felt to witness him face the world’s fastest bowlers.
After the first shot, Khan told his friends, “He’s in good touch, the feet are moving beautifully.” When will he hit a six? Before Khan could speak, Parnell’s ball hit his former ward’s helmet.
Haris was battered. He smiled at non-striker Babar Azam. Commentators wondered if he was brought in too soon. He was a reserve till yesterday. The coach thought to himself as he underwent concussion tests, “See how he responds.” He confidently assured his teammates, “Abhi ayega chhakka”
As everyone watched, he flicked six. Whirling the frightening bowler over fine-leg. Before the coach could celebrate, he smashed Rabada for another boundary. Coach was stunned. “I knew his potential, but watching him perform against one of the world’s finest fast bowlers left me speechless,” he said.
The coach did not have a sixth sense, but a thorough comprehension of his game and thinking. His memory slipped. Khan remembers a confident little child at the cricket stadium’s academy. “He said he’d never used a hard ball. First time facing a hard ball, he showed no fear. He had natural eyes and hands, he remembered.
Naturally. Haris’ brushstrokes are smooth. No awkward or excessive moves. He rarely has second thoughts, rarely premeditates, or loses his stroke shape, and has brilliant mental clarity. He resembles a young Mohammad Yousuf.
Pakistan cricket maintained the natural gifts without trampling the original. We worked on his fitness because he was a wicketkeeper. Khan claimed he always worked hard and was at the academy.
Years later, Pakistan fielding coach Abdul Majeed said, “Whatever assignment Haris is given as a keeper, batter, or fielder, he can do it with utmost dedication.” He urges me to run challenging drills to improve his fielding.
The road to national team originally seemed long. Even the academy looked distant. Mushtarzai, a picturesque village near Takht-i-Bahi, was an hour away. Haris’ mother feared a cricket academy would impact his grades. His father persuaded her to try cricket.
My mum scolded me for playing cricket. My father did not mind since he understood people may become famous in cricket like Aamir Sohail and Wasim Akram. I told my mom I would not sacrifice my grades. Haris informed pakpassion.net he attended college.
Haris was picked for the Peshawar U-19 team the year he started college; a year later, he made the U-19 national team. His first journey to Sri Lanka was disappointing: 82 runs in four youth ODIs. But selectors kept him for South Africa. Three fifty-plus scores in seven games earned him player of the match honors twice.
Everything seemed like a dream, he said in an interview. Peshawar Zalmi quickly signed him. Khan did not react. He said, “His talent will carry him far.”
Haris is the academy’s role model. “He’s modest.” Khan: “After his Pakistan debut, he gave us his shirt.” The lifetime heirloom.
Haris received a strange moniker at U-19. Google. He explains enthusiastically. Because I’m knowledgeable Everything is answered. Whatever they ask, I’ll tell them. He informed Zalmi TV that he liked to research every topic.
Pakistan’s Mohammad Haris bats against South Africa in Sydney, Australia, on Nov. 3, 2022. (Reuters) Pakistan’s Mohammad Haris bats against South Africa in Sydney, Australia, on Nov. 3, 2022.
Haris was asked who his favourite batsman was. Buttler, Jos. Do you want to be like him? “I want to be myself,” he said sternly. I do not want to imitate anyone since I’m the best.”
Haris held up a #BeTheBest bracelet after hitting a 32-ball 70 in just his second PSL game. He tweets with this hashtag. “Fearlessness is a core part of my nature. “My parents taught me this,” he would say.
This bravery sparked Pakistan’s T20 World Cup turnaround. His 11-ball 28 against South Africa and 18-ball 31 against Bangladesh gave Pakistan momentum. His coach said, “He’s a confident young man who believes he can accomplish anything on the field.”
Haris, once a reserve player, is now an essential batsman. Many commentators want him to start. Shahid Afridi tweeted, “We need top-order batsmen like Haris.” Waqar Younis believes no one on the Pakistan team understands T20 cricket like Haris.
The newfound spotlight hasn’t fazed him. He handles things as though ordained. Self-confidence, not arrogance. After the Bangladesh game, he joined fans outside the stadium for celebrations, signed autographs, posed for photographs, and granted interviews to Pakistani youtubers.He did not show nerves when hit in the helmet. Haris’ bravado and strokes have helped Pakistan’s resurgence. #BeTheBest.