Mahinder Pal Singh has become the first Sikh cricketer to be selected to Pakistan’s National Cricket Academy after he was picked for a fast bowlers’ camp, being organised by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB). He wants to be the next rock star fast bowler in Pakistan cricket.
The 21-year old was selected at an emerging players’ camp, organised by the PCB in Multan in November.
“It was a proud moment for me to be selected for the camp,” said Mahinder, who hails from the tribal region of Pakistan but lives in Nankana Sahib outside Lahore.
The eldest among five siblings, he is the first member of his community to be recognised at this level.
“It was a great experience training with the other young pace talents in the country and we learnt a lot. But my aim now is to eventually play first-class cricket,” said the student of pharmacy in Punjab University.
“I always loved playing cricket and I used to play for local clubs after completing my matriculation and I also worked at an academy in Mughulpura, Lahore,” Mahinder Pal said.
Son of a migrant
Mahinder Pal Singh father, an ardent cricket lover and a fast bowler, migrated with his family from Khyber Agency to Nankana Sahib about 15 years ago.
“He wanted to play competitive cricket but couldn’t do so because he had to take care of the family and set up a business in Nankana Sahib. But he has now passed on his dream to me.
“It would be lovely to become the first Sikh in Pakistan to play for the national team but right now my dream is to first play first-class cricket and showcase my talent. I am learning everyday as there is so much cricket shown on television nowadays,” said Mahinder.
“There is lot of talent in Nankana Sahib but we don’t have proper playgrounds there and we used to play at the gurdwara’s yard,” said Mahinder, who idolises Shoaib Akhtar, Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis.
‘No problem with religion’
Asked if he had faced bias or problems playing cricket in Pakistan because of his religion, he said: “Nope.Wherever I play or when we were in the camp in Multan they only looked at my talent and performance. They made me work hard on my fitness.”
Citing the example of Danish Kaneria, who played as a premier bowler for Pakistan at the highest level, Mahinder said if Kaneria could represent the country, why can’t he.
When Shaharyar Khan visited the high performance centre in Multan to inaugurate it, Mahinder recollected that the PCB chief spent time with him and encouraged him.
“That encouragement will spur me to do better,” he said.