Pakistan finds new pace hope

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Little-known bowler Ahmed Jamal has vowed to make a name for himself after winning a nationwide “King of Speed” competition launched by cricket chiefs to unearth a new Pakistani quick.

Pakistan boast a proud history of pacemen including the likes of Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis and Shoaib Akhtar and Jamal showed he has the pace to frighten batsmen with a fastest delivery of 143 kilometres (88 miles) an hour.

Other fast bowling contestants Muhammad Imran from Karachi marked the speed of 136 km/h, whereas, Abdul Ameer and, Faisal Yaseen from Faisalabad managed to bowl at the speed of 135 km/h.

The 24-year-old, who hails from Abbottabad, made famous for being the city where Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden was killed by US forces in 2011, came out on top in the competition organised by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).

Jamal, who plays first-class cricket for Port Qasim, was delighted to scoop the one million rupee ($10,000) prize after the four-man final.

The recent Ufone “King of Speed” trials held across the country managed to bring in more than 4000 fast bowlers, each wanting to find a place at the National Bowling camp and trying his best to win a prize of Rs.1 Million.

 

Ufone announced another chance for the lucky four, who had qualified for the national training camp to win the cash prize on last day of camp. The condition to reach or top 145km/h was set aside and any bowler who would clock the highest speed would be declared the winner.

Ahmed Jamal who stands 6 feet 4 inches and won the grand prize after proving himself the fastest bowler said, “I am pleased and excited after winning this grand prize and showcasing my talent to an expert like Wasim Akram. Under the supervision of Wasim Akram, I have learned a lot about different techniques used in fast bowling; this camp will help me a lot in the days to come.”

“I am thrilled and very happy,” Jamal said. “My feet were on the ground before I won this and will remain on the ground after winning the prize as I want to make a name for myself.”

The PCB organised the hunt for fast bowlers after chief selector Iqbal Qasim raised concerns about poor quality in the pace department.

Jamal was picked from trials in Abbottabad earlier this month, one of a series in 10 cities to find a bowler with 145km speed. The other three finalists were Faisal Yasin, Abdul Hameed and Mohammad Imran.

The bowler acknowledged the infamy that bin Laden had brought on Abbottabad and Pakistan after he was shot dead in the garrison city on May 2, 2011. His wives later said they had been living there for five years.

“I was in Karachi, playing cricket and was unaware of what happened, but it became the biggest news in the world,” he said.

Former Pakistan paceman Wasim Akram said Jamal, who is six feet four inches tall (1.93 metres), has the ability to thrive.

“I noticed him on the first day and he looks very talented,” Wasim said of Jamal. “I think with some hard work he can increase his pace and can become an asset for the country.”

Jamal said he was inspired to bowl fast by Shoaib Akhtar.

“The desire was inspired by watching Shoaib,” Jamal remembered. “I want to achieve his speed and want to bowl as fast as he used to.”

Speaking on the occasion, Wasim Akram, former captain of the national cricket team and also the brand ambassador of fastest data cellular network, Ufone said, “I am happy to see that we still have great fast bowling talent in Pakistan, we just need to find that talent and polish our youngsters. Fast young bowlers like Ahmed Jamal are the future of this country; they can become part of our national team and take Pakistani cricket to new heights of glory.”

He said that Ufone and PCB had done a tremendous job by bringing together young emerging fast bowlers and providing them with an opportunity to showcase their talent. He also hoped that Ufone and PCB will continue to organize such healthy and useful events in the future and that would be a great service to Pakistani cricket.

 

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