Talent Spotter catches up with injured batsman Afaq Raheem, one of only a handful of first class cricketers from Mirpur.
Afaq Raheem is a 24 year old right handed opening batsman from Mirpur. He plays for ZTBL alongside the likes of Imran Nazir, Sohail Tanvir Abdul Razzaq and Saeed Ajmal.
Afaq made his first class debut in the 2003/04 season. Over the course of his career he has managed 16 half centuries and 8 centuries in FC cricket at a healthy batting average of just under 40. In the shorter 50 over version of the game where he usually bats at No. 3 his stats are even more impressive with an average of 48 with a strike rate over 80.
This season Afaq has been nursing an injured knee and hasn't played competitive cricket since May. We wish him a speedy recovery.
In his own words - "I havent been playing in the QEA Trophy as I damaged my knee ligaments a few months ago whilst practising. I've started running now, but its been a frustrating time for me. The medics are working with me and I'm hoping that I might be able to play in one of the remaining QEA Trophy matches. However I need to be careful as I dont want to try and come back too soon and cause long term damage. Realistically though I think I will be back for the domestic one day competitions".
"I'm from Sector E5 in Thothal and I'm one of only a few first class cricketers from Mirpur and I'm very proud of that. The other 2 boys from Mirpur currently playing first class cricket play for Islamabad and are called Mir Usman and Fahad Akram".
"My favourite shot is the on drive and I believe my batting style is exclusive and works for me. I havent modelled my batting on any other batsman".
"I've no other family members who have played cricket at this level and my big break came when I went to Rawalpindi for trials and was spotted by the coaches at the trials. There were coaches from KRL, Rawalpindi and Islamabad present. I'm really grateful for the support that I have received from Sabeeh Azhar, Bilal Asad and Aamer Bashir over the years and I pray that Aamer bhai makes a speedy recovery.
"As well as playing for ZTBL I have represented Azad Jammu and Kashmir Cricket Association Under-19s and also Islamabad Leopards. I played for Pakistan Under 19s against Sri Lanka in 2003, as well as representing Pakistan Academy against Bangladesh Academy. I also played against the touring Zimbabwe team in 2007 in one of their side matches on that tour".
"The best bowler that I have faced has been former Pakistan pace bowler Shabbir Ahmed".