Speaking to PakPassion.net, left handed batting sensation, Awais Zia talked about the disappintment of the FBT20 final and his aspirations for the Under 25 Tournament in Maldives.
Twenty five year old Chakwal born opening batsman Awais Zia was one of the star turns at the recently concluded Faysal Bank Cup. Representing the Rawalpindi Rams, the hard hitting opening batsman scored 177 runs in 5 innings at a strike rate of 163 and also took 3 wickets with his part time off spin.
Zia made his first class debut in 2007 for Rawalpindi scoring 45 runs, but appeared for Pakistan Television in Division Two of the Quaid E Azam Trophy last season scoring nearly 750 runs at an average of just under 40 with a highest score of 232.
This season, Zia is back in action at Rawalpindi in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy. He has kicked off his campaign with scores of 24 and 36 not out respectively in the draw against National Bank, then scoring 27 and 6 against PIA.
Speaking to PakPassion.net, Zia spoke of his delight at his performances in the Faysal Bank Cup but also spoke of the heartache of losing in the final to Sialkot at the National Stadium Karachi.
"I really enjoyed the tournament, it was great to play in front of such a vociferous yet sporting crowd and it all went well for us till the final. It was my first Twenty20 tournament in Karachi and it was a great experience and one that I will always remember."
"To reach back to back Twenty20 finals was a fantastic achievement for Rawalpindi and we had high hopes of winning a consecutive tournament, but unfortunately it wasn't meant to be. Throughout the tournament we gave our all but just felt short at the final hurdle against a very strong Sialkot side. In such tight games one incident can be the turning point and Hammad's (Azam) run out was possibly that turning point. Who knows maybe with him still at the crease at the end we could have chased down the target."
Zia confirmed that his passion for cricket started at a very young age, playing in the streets of his village (Bhown) with other young children, before he made it to the local area team. The next step on his cricketing journey was playing for his school cricket team before playing club cricket in Chakwal. The coaches at his club in Chakwal recommended to Awais that he attend the cricketing trials where various coaches would be in attendance.
"I was just playing for fun and had no idea that the trials were going to be held and selections made. I just went along to the trials with some friends to see what it was all about, rather than with some high hopes. I was spotted by some Jhelum coaches and was asked to play for them. I started playing for Jhelum district and then Grade 2 cricket, before finally getting a chance in first class cricket for Rawalpindi in 2007. It's been a long and eventful journey and there's been a lot of hard work and effort to reach this far. It's been a tough journey, but by the grace of the Almighty things are much better now."
Zia who has been selected in the Under 25 squad for the South Asian Championship due to be held in the Maldives later this month, is an aggressive left handed opening batsman and stated that former Pakistan batsmen Saeed Anwar and Mohammad Wasim were his favourite cricketers from Pakistan and that Brian Lara was his favourite non Pakistani batsman.
Zia has high hopes for the future and a real hunger to succeed at the highest level of cricket and spoke of his aims to represent Pakistan in the near future.
"I'm really pleased that I've been called up to the Under 25 squad for the tournament in the Maldives and I hope that I can do well there and in future. I've been consistent in first class cricket whenever I have been given the opportunity. This season is a huge season for me at Rawalpindi and I really want to build on a decent season last year. My dream is to play for Pakistan and I really hope that will happen one day. In the meantime I will continue to do my best in domestic cricket for Rawalpindi."