Muhammad Asif Khan
KARACHI: Pakistan’s young all-rounder Anwer Ali’s journey to the national team is a hard-fought one, during which he worked as a factory worker to earn a living for the family and simultaneously played cricket to serve his passion. The all-rounder revealed that before his first major international assignment – the U19 World Cup – he had to purchase a quality pair of shoes from Coach Bob Woolmer. “Before the mega event, I was in need of a pair of boots and a Sialokot’s first-class player advised me to approach Pakistan’s coach Bob Woolmer in this regard.” said Anwar Ali while talking to this correspondent for News One TV.
“Woolmer asked for Rs 4200 or Rs 4600 for the pair which I paid and got the shoes. I did request for a discount but wasn’t granted”, recalled Anwar Ali, who performed exceptionally well during the U19 World cup of 2006 in Colombo.
In the final, Pakistan beat arch-rival India by 38 runs. Anwar Ali was declared man of the match for his match winning bowling performance of 5 for 35.
After the heroics, Anwar Ali, 26, had to wait till 2008 to make his T20 debut and was sidelined for years afterwards. “It wasn’t an easy time, the family wanted me to leave cricket however, I asked for a year which was granted”, said Anwar Ali
“I went to England and played league there and realised the need of improving my batting as well. My hard work paid off and now I am considered as an all-rounder”, said Anwar Ali who has a first class century to his credit.
Recalling his first one day international match, he added that all the senior players encouraged him which resulted in a match winning performance. “I can’t forget my first ODI wicket of Jacques Kallis. The captain and senior players like Afridi and Hafeez advised me to bowl in the channel and it worked well for me”, said Anwar Ali.
Anwar Ali, in his first ODI in November last year, scored 43 runs and later claimed two South African wickets to clinch the man of the match award.
On a question, Anwar Ali expressed the hope of cementing his place in the national team, adding that as a player his job is to perform whenever an opportunity comes his way. “I am an optimist, believe in hard work and leave the rest to the all mighty. I will not disappoint if I am given another opportunity”, concluded Anwar Ali.