Zafar Gohar is a slow left-arm orthodox bowler from Lahore who impressed one and all during Pakistan U19s' successful tour of England this month. Gohar spoke to Pakpassion.net about his early days as a cricketer, his favourite players and his plans for the future.
Zafar Gohar is a slow left-arm orthodox bowler from Lahore. He has taken 1 wicket in his only List A match, while he has also bagged 2 wickets in his 3 T20 matches thus far. He is also a handy left-handed lower order batsman. He has scored 38 runs in his 3 T20 matches at an average of 19 and an eye-catching strike rate of 131.
Full name: Zafar Gohar Khan
Born: January 2, 1995, Lahore, Punjab
Major teams: Pakistan Under-15s, Pakistan Under-19s, Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited
Batting style: Left-hand bat
Bowling style: Slow left-arm orthodox
Getting into Cricket
I have been a keen follower of the game since my school days. I used to watch my superstars on TV and then tried to replicate what they do on the ground. I was often asked not to take it seriously as not everybody can become a successful sportsman, but I had the will and where there is will, there is a way. I knew I had it in me to prosper.
School and Club Cricket
I started playing cricket at my school and was the captain of the team. My school was Central Model High School, Lahore. During the time of Mr. Naseem Ashraf, we had many tournaments in our school and our rivals were the Muslim Model School. We were the top two schools in the city and had many memorable tape ball tournaments. I was one of the top performers of my school. These days, I am playing my cricket at the Garhi Shahu Club in Lahore.
I used to play under the guidance of Mr. Shafqat Rana at the Race Course Park in Lahore. He was very helpful for me and he had an eye to discover new talent. He referred me for the U15 and U16 trials. I gave my trials successfully and got selected for the team. I remember Ata-ur-Rehman taking my U16 trials and was highly impressed with my all-round skills. I was named in the squad for the U15 World Cup in the West Indies and represented Pakistan U15s in that event.
After the success in U15 and U16 cricket, I was selected for the U19 team. I represented the Pakistan U19 team in the U19 World Cup in Australia, and took eight wickets in eight matches there. Just recently, I had a fantastic tour of England for Pakistan U19s. I was named as the best bowler of the tri-nation series, which included Bangladesh and England. I took 18 wickets in the seven matches I played and scored some useful and brisk runs for my team in the lower order. That series gave me a huge boost and depicted my credentials in front of the world.
There are a few players from our U19 team who I’d like to mention here. I feel they can represent Pakistan in the near future. Sami Aslam, Zia-ul-Haq, Shayan Jahangir, Imam-ul-Haq, Mohammad Aftab etc, have all got what it takes to play for Pakistan. Zia-ul-Haq is my favourite bowler. He is really good. I like Shayan Jahangir’s style of batting. I was highly impressed with a few English cricketers too. Tattersall and Finch are very fine opening batsmen. Higgins, Rhodes, Winslade and Fisher complete the list of players I am looking forward to seeing in their national team.
I was selected to play for the ZTBL U19 team by Wajahatullah Wasti. I passed the trials and got selected to play for them. I took 40 wickets, along with scoring 450 runs, and was later appointed as their captain. I have also played for the ZTBL senior team, where Saeed Ajmal and Imran Nazir helped me do well. I played for them in the PCB Ramadan Cup and took two wickets in three matches. Although I did not get to bowl too many overs, it was a great experience for me and I also scored a 30-odd in one innings. Haris Sohail and Sharjeel Khan are the players from ZTBL who I admire.
I love watching Daniel Vettori and Graeme Swann bowl. I feel that Graeme Swann is a fantastic bowler. I like his action as well as his rhythm. His ability to bowl well in the difficult English conditions is commendable. I have also learned that Mr. Iqbal Qasim was a very witty bowler in his days. As he was also a left-arm spinner like I am, it is pleasing to know about him. In domestic cricket, I follow the batting of Haris Sohail, Sohaib Maqsood and Sharjeel Khan, and I also keep an eye on how Zia-ul-Haq, Mohammad Talha and Ahmed Jamal are doing.
I am very satisfied with what I have done so far, I have had an excellent start to my professional career. There are a few crucial first-class tours in the coming months and my aim is to make my mark in them. Hopefully, in the next two and a half years I will be able to represent the Pakistan national team.