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Umar Waheed is a right handed middle order batsman who has recently been a regular selection in the Pakistan Under 19 side. His batting is complimented by the ability to bowl medium pace and off spin.

By Saj Sadiq (28th April, 2012)

Umar Waheed is a right handed middle order batsman who has recently been a regular selection in the Pakistan Under 19 side. His batting is complimented by the ability to bowl medium pace and off spin.


Born in Lahore, Umar has however played most of his cricket in Rawalpindi. He made his debut for the Lahore Lions in a one day match in February 2010 against Islamabad. Aged only 15, Umar scored 31 runs from just 25 deliveries, an innings that included 6 boundaries.

Since making his debut in 2010 for the Lahore Lions, Umar has made 5 further appearances in List A cricket for Rawalpindi and in the recently concluded National One Day Cup he scored 156 runs in 4 innings at an average of 52.

Whist his first class chances have been limited, Umar has been playing in Patrons Trophy Grade 2 cricket for Sayed Paper Mills and has also been representing Pakistan Under 19s.


How I Got Into Cricket

Nobody in my family played first class cricket, although we were all very passionate about the game, talked about it, watched it and played it whenever we could and wherever we could. We were just like any other family in Pakistan, plain and simple cricket crazy.


The Early Days

The streets of Rawalpindi were where I started my cricketing education. It seems like a tradition in Pakistan where after playing cricket in your own back yard and doing quite well against close friends, neighbours and family members, you feel you are then ready to move onto the next arena, which are the neighbourhood street matches.


Club Cricket

At the age of 12 I decided to take my cricket a little more seriously and joined the Gold Star cricket club in Rawalpindi. It wasn’t a very well known cricket club and my family and I felt that I would improve my cricket by attending a proper cricket club and be taught cricket by decent coaches.

Within one year of joining them, the coaches at Gold Star cricket club then recommended me to County cricket club in Rawalpindi where they felt I would improve further and practice with a better quality of cricketer, be taught by qualified coaches and receive a good cricket grounding at an early age. The County cricket club is well known in Rawalpindi and since the age of 13 I have played my club cricket there. This club has also produced left arm bowler Sohail Tanvir.


Rawalpindi Trials

My opportunity at Rawalpindi came about when I saw an advert in the local newspaper for regional Under 15 and Under 16 trials. I went to the trials and impressed the coaches there and was selected for Rawalpindi region Under 16s. At the same time I was featuring in schools cricket for Rawalpindi region where I was the highest run scorer across the country.


Elevation to the Rawalpindi Under 19s

After performing consistently for Rawalpindi Under 16s in the national competition for this age group, I was then selected for the Rawalpindi Under 19s. In my first season at Under 19 level in 2010 I played 5 one day matches for Rawalpindi and played alongside Hammad Azam.

It was however the second season where I really established myself in the Rawalpindi Under 19 team when I was made captain and was also the highest run maker at Under 19 level in the whole of Pakistan.


Pakistan Under 19s

After being top run scorer in 2011 in the regional Under 19 competition I was fortunate enough to be spotted by the selectors and I was selected for the Pakistan Under 19 team. I toured South Africa earlier this year and took part in a three nation series with the hosts and Zimbabwe (Umar made 211 runs in 7 matches at an average of 52.75) and also featured against South Africa in three 50 over matches (Umar made 107 runs at an average of 35.66).


The Under 19 Tour of South Africa

Overall the team did very well. We lost in the tri nation final against South Africa but defeated the same opposition in a three match series, 2-1. The conditions in South Africa were so different to what we had been used to in Pakistan and it was a wonderful opportunity for especially the batsmen like myself to adjust our technique to the unfamiliar conditions. It was a real challenge to bat on those bouncy tracks in South Africa and it took us a few matches to acclimatise to those wickets, but after a couple of matches we did well.

The facilities in South Africa were excellent, so much better than in Pakistan. Whilst the facilities were better in South Africa I firmly believe that Pakistan has the better upcoming talent in terms of cricketing ability.


Favourite Cricketers

My 3 favourite all time cricketers are Jacques Kallis, Ricky Ponting and Rahul Dravid. I love watching them bat and always try my best to watch their innings whenever I get the opportunity. If I can be half the player those three legends have been, then I will be very pleased.


Bowling

Initially I was a batsman who occasionally bowled to the other batsman in the nets, but over the course of time I have started to develop my bowling and have been encouraged to bowl much more. I normally bowl off spin or as I was required to do so in South Africa, I can bowl medium pace also. I am continuing to work on my bowling with the coaches and I’m hopeful I’ll start to bowl on a more regular basis.


Batting Position

I started as an opening batsman. On debut for Lahore in the only match I played for them I opened the innings, but then with advice from the coaches I have started to bat in the middle order which I feel is my best position. Anywhere between the number three to the number five position suits me.


National One Day Cup

The step up from Under 19 regional cricket to the National One Day Cup was a big one, but I went into the competition full of confidence having had a good domestic Under 19 season and then with the tour of South Africa behind me. However my club coach Asif Hussain and the Rawalpindi and Pakistan Under 19 coach Sabih Azhar really boosted my confidence by getting me ready for the National One Day Cup and I was pleased with how things went.


Under 19 Asia Cup and the Under 19 World Cup

There’s a lot of anticipation and excitement amongst the boys for both of the upcoming high profile tournaments and the preparation has already started with the camp in Lahore at the NCA. There’s a lot of competition for places as 78 boys have been called up for the trials and only 15 or 16 boys will make it to the final squad. Everyone is eager to impress the coaches and the training staff at the trials, as nobody wants to miss either tournament. Playing in such a high profile tournament as the World Cup would be a dream come true for me. I pray that it’s in my destiny to play in the Asia Cup and the World Cup, but let’s see if I am selected.


The Ongoing Under 19 Camp

I was selected in the “A” group for the ongoing trials at the NCA in Lahore and have been attending the trials for the last few days. The trials have been split into three groups of 26 cricketers. There’s a lot of effort going in from all of the boys as Dav Whatmore, Julien Fountain and the selectors have been present at the NCA during the trials. It’s encouraging to see the National team coaches and selectors present at our practice sessions. It’s a pleasure and an honour to be working with such professional coaches and they have been very helpful to all of us at the NCA.


The Future

My dreams and aspirations and my aim is to play for my country as long as I can. I’ve come through the ranks at junior levels and I hope that the Almighty gives me the ability and the strength to play for my country in future.