One of the leading wicket-takers in the Quaid-e-Azam trophy, the twenty-five year old fast-bowler from Karachi has had an interesting rise in fortunes, including a hat-trick in his debut First-Class game.
By Amir Husain (5th December, 2015)
Full name : Zohaib Shera
Born : August 18, 1990, Karachi, Sind
Current age : 25 years 109 days
Major teams : Karachi Blues, Karachi Whites, Port Qasim Authority
Batting style : Right-hand bat
Bowling style Left-arm medium-fast
Height : 5ft 11in
Getting into Cricket
I started playing cricket in Malir in Karachi at a very early age with friends and relatives. My father passed away when I was very young so he did not have much effect on my decision to play cricket. However my mother always encouraged me to play cricket and was a big influence in my decision to pursue cricket as a career. My two elder brothers also made sure that I could play cricket without any hindrance for which I am very grateful to them.
I would play cricket with friends whenever I got the opportunity to; at the local parks, in the streets, wherever we could and whenever we could and we played with tape-ball cricket which was fun and also taught me how to bowl.
Club Cricket, Under 17 and Under 19 cricket
After playing in the parks, streets, and for my local school, I moved on to play with a local club called New United Gymkhana in 2005. During the same year I moved on from that stage to the Karachi Under 17s. At that point in my life, I really had no idea if I would progress any further with cricket as a career. In fact, the first Under 17 game I played was a bit of a shock to me as I had no idea until the morning of the game that I was in the team. The way that came about was that after one good game for my club where I had taken five wickets, I was told that I am playing in my first Under 17 game the next day. In that game, I removed both openers from the opposition team. I also attended the PCB regional academy in 2006 and then played Under 19 cricket for the Karachi Zone II Under 19 team until 2009 when I made my First-Class debut for Karachi Whites in the Quaid-e-Azam trophy. That was a great experience but I had to be patient for my chance as I did not get to play until the eighth match of the tournament.
Mentors and Role Models
First and foremost, the person I admire and someone who has had a great influence in my development is Rashid Latif. He is someone who has given me a lot of confidence and guidance during the Under 19 stage as I used to attend and train at the Rashid Latif academy in Karachi. Like many others, I always looked up to him and he to me has been my mentor. I would also like to mention Azam Khan who is the head coach of the Karachi region has also guided me during my three or so years in Under 19 cricket.
Like any other left-arm fast-bowler from Pakistan, my role model is beyond doubt the great Wasim Akram. I have never met him but I would love to meet and get tips from him in the future. I grew up watching his videos and he has provided me with a lot of inspiration in my career so far.
Outstanding performances in First-Class cricket
This is my fifth year playing First-Class cricket and I have taken 109 wickets in total which I feel is really good for my career progress. In terms of this season, I am playing for Port Qasim Authority and have taken twenty-five wickets so far. If truth be known, I will say this is all due to the advice of Rashid Latif who told me to go out there and bowl and get wickets. He is convinced that I will do well in the future and gave me a lot of confidence. Let me add that although I have no real aspirations of becoming an all-rounder but on the advice of Rashid Bhai, I am also concentrating on batting in the nets.
Most satisfying dismissals so far
Obviously the hat-trick against National Bank of Pakistan in the second innings of my First-Class debut where I removed Nasir Jamshed, Imran Javed and Naumanullah has to stand out as a great moment for me. In the current season, the one wicket that was big for me has to be the wicket of our national ODI captain Azhar Ali who I had caught after he had scored 142 although, the one wicket which I enjoyed most was that of Shan Masood whom I clean bowled for 1. Shan is an established batsman and to get him out so cheaply is surely one of the high points of my career.
The step up to First-Class cricket
I debuted in First-Class cricket in December 2009. This was a huge moment for me as I also took a hat-trick in that game but what was even a bigger deal for me was the jump in quality and intensity that one experiences playing at that level. I feel that First-Class is proper cricket where there is no or little room for any mistakes or complacency. As a bowler, you are punished mercilessly by batsmen if you do not follow the basics of line and length. Every batsmen, whether he is top or middle order, or even a tail-ender is very tough to dismiss and you cannot take anything for granted. Having played with a top team like Port Qasim Authority, I have to say that I have now experienced a very advanced brand of cricket in the way they practice and way the seniors guide the junior players into becoming wicket taking bowlers.
Wicket taking delivery
It may seem too early in my career to say this but so far the one delivery that is getting me wickets are my in-swinging deliveries. This is still something I am working on and am hoping this will continue to get me more success in the future.
Like any other aspiring player, I want to play for Pakistan. It is true that I have been most successful in the four day format, but my wish is to represent Pakistan in all three formats.