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I've always enjoyed watching cricket right from an early age. In Pakistan cricket is a passion so there is no way to avoid the game. At first I was playing cricket on a casual basis with friends on the streets of my home city of Sargodha. It was my cousin who played local club cricket suggested to me that rather than just playing on the streets with friends, I should take my cricket more seriously and join a cricket club.I took on board my cousin's advice and started playing club cricket in order to organise my game a whole lot better than it was and to have some structure to my cricket.

 

By Saj Sadiq (December 17, 2012)

Full name : Ali Waqas

Born : December 26, 1989, Sargodha, Punjab 

Current age : 22 years 357 days

Major teams : Faisalabad Wolves, Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited

Batting style : Left-hand bat

Bowling style : Right-arm off break


Getting into Cricket 

I've always enjoyed watching cricket right from an early age. In Pakistan cricket is a passion so there is no way to avoid the game.

At first I was playing cricket on a casual basis with friends on the streets of my home city of Sargodha. It was my cousin who played local club cricket suggested to me that rather than just playing on the streets with friends, I should take my cricket more seriously and join a cricket club.

I took on board my cousin's advice and started playing club cricket in order to organise my game a whole lot better than it was and to have some structure to my cricket.


Regional Under 19s

All my Under 19 and regional cricket has been for the Faisalabad region. I had quite a lot of success in club cricket in Sargodha and it was suggested to me to try my luck at the Under 19 trials in Faisalabad.

The coaches present at the trials were Tanvir Shaukhat and Wasim Haider the 1992 world cup winner. As you can imagine there were a lot of cricketers there and as luck would have it, I was spotted whilst batting and the coaches were very helpful right from the start.

Right from those trials my coaches at Faisalabad have been very supportive. As soon as they saw me batting they said that I had a lot of ability and that I should think positive, play positively and aim for the top. I've always appreciated the work and effort they put into my batting.


Pakistan Under 19s

Even though I had not yet played for Faisalabad region under 19s I was selected for Pakistan's under 19s in 2007. Trials were held for the Pakistan under 19s and six players from each region were asked to attend.

Iqbal Qasim who is now the chief selector was in charge of selecting the Pakistan under 19 squad at the time was selecting the squad for a home series against India. I was selected as part of the squad against India but never played a match against opponents that included Piyush Chawla, Virat Kohli and Ishant Sharma.


SNGPL

I was spotted by the SNGPL coaches when I was invited to play a one day match for them. Some of their players were out of form and they asked a few boys from the Faisalabad region to play for them. Misbah ul Haq was the captain and I did reasonably well in that match.

It was a slice of luck and a break that literally came by chance and I was lucky enough to perform well in front of Misbah ul Haq and the other SNGPL players and coaching staff.

I had planned to continue playing for Faisalabad region for at least the rest of the season but after playing the match for SNGPL, Mohammad Hafeez approached my club cricket coach Aftab Ahmed and suggested that I should play for SNGPL in first class cricket as soon as possible.

After such an exciting opportunity came my way, I decided that after the end of 2008 I would join SNGPL, after completing the season with the Faisalabad region.


First Season Struggles

In my first season of domestic cricket for SNGPL I really struggled. Perhaps it was down to the fact that I had not played a lot of cricket before SNGPL signed me and things had moved so quickly in my career. I realised that I had a lot of work to do. I had been successful in regional cricket and club cricket and junior cricket but this was something new for me. I wasn't used to struggling with my form and confidence. But it turned out to be a blessing in disguise because it made me work even harder and look to improve my game as a whole.


Batting Style

I tend to focus on playing in the V. It was taught to me at an early age that the straighter you play, the better chance you have of succeeding. 

My philosophy is that by playing straight it means that you have less chance of being dismissed. It's a simple yet effective method and one that works for me. 


Batting Position

I started as an opening batsman, but I'm now batting at the number three or four position these days. I'm flexible when it comes to my batting position and it's down to whatever the team requires.


Season by Season Improvements

After my first season struggles, I have improved each season. This season is my fourth season in first class cricket and it has been my best season. I feel that I am a more mature cricketer nowadays having the experience of several seasons of first class cricket behind me.


President's Trophy 2012

This season I was third highest runscorer in the President's Trophy with more than 600 runs and that was really pleasing as all the top players were taking part in that tournament and that has been a huge boost to my confidence. 

The performance in the President's Trophy is something that I can take forward with me, build upon for the future and use to my advantage.

I went into the season with a positive mindset. My coaches have told me not to think about failure and that was great advice. So I just went into the President's Trophy with a positive attitude and not thinking at all about failure and it worked.

Our team had a number of international players, Misbah ul Haq, Mohammad Hafeez, Umar Akmal, Azhar Ali, Taufeeq Umar so I wasn't even sure whether I was going to make the starting line up. But then as my chance came I settled in and performed well, working with the international batsmen in our squad.

At times I was lucky enough to be the batsman who made runs when our star performers failed. The standard of bowlers in the tournament was very high. All of the current international bowlers were playing, as well as former international players so doing well in this tournament has been a massive boost.

The ball was really seaming around throughout this tournament and the conditions really favoured the quick bowlers, but I've been very pleased with my performance this season.


Role Models

There are only two role models for me and those are two wonderful individuals Mohammad Hafeez and Misbah ul Haq. I cannot praise them enough for the help and guidance they have given me both on and off the cricket field. 

They are both fantastic cricketers, but not only that, they are great human beings too. 


Away from Cricket

Iin between playing first class cricket and practising, I have completed a Masters in Political Science. I always wanted to study, yet wanted to play cricket at the highest level too, so I did the Masters on a part time basis as and when time permitted.

It's something that I am very proud of and who knows maybe after my cricket career is over I can utilise.


Future Aspirations

My thinking has always been to play cricket well. Do not go through the motions. It is a privilege to play cricket at the highest level in your country, make the most of it.

Cricket is my career not a job that I want to do just for a few years. I want to do my utmost in domestic cricket and then God willing I want to play for Pakistan for many years. That is my ambition.