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World T20: ‘Passage to India’ restaurant gave Amir Ali chance to play

The bespectacled Oman batsman says how his restaurant boss let him achieve his dream of playing cricket for the country

world t20 Updated: Mar 11, 2016 14:15 IST
Ashutosh Sharma
Ashutosh Sharma
Hindustan Times
World T20,Oman vs Ireland,Amir Ali
Amir Ali played a breezy knock of 32 to take Oman to victory against Ireland at Dharamsala.(AP Photo)

At 37 years of age Amir Ali is a gentle, portly, bespectacled guy with pleasing manners and a soft voice --- an unlikely player to be seen in a full-member squad with all that focus on fitness.

But, then, Oman are not a typical side. It was the passion to play cricket and the need to find some economic stability that took Ali to Oman.

On Wednesday, playing for the World T20 debutants, his 32 crucial runs gave his side the taste of an upset win over the kings of Associate cricket, Ireland.

A day after, with celebrations done, Ali is beaming, excited and chirpy. Back home his wife is busy getting ready for an interview with an Oman TV channel about her husband’s heroics against Ireland, and sitting far away in Dharamsala, Ali is still trying to come to terms with the magnitude of the achievement.

A marketing executive with a restaurant ‘Passage to India’, Ali is thankful to the owner, KK Mohandas, for giving him the opportunity to carry on with the game.

“I have played first-class cricket for Karachi Whites. I then shifted to Oman as I was promised a job and also avenue to play cricket. Back home, I used to play for Malir Gymkhana. I played for two years, Rashid Latif was captain,” Ali, who likes Salim Malik and Basat Ali, says.

In a team with players of Pakistani and Indian origin, Ali said that after a great start, wherein the openers added a breezy 69 runs for the first wicket, the team had the belief that they could pull off the chase.

“In an earlier match I had gotten out early trying to score quick runs. But yesterday I wanted to see off a few balls before I went for the big hit,” he said. Having spent close to four months on the road, Ali is already feeling the pangs of separation from his three children.

“My wife has been fighting with me and I am also missing my children. But I am enjoying playing for Oman,” Ali says, as he gets up to welcome his boss Mohandas, who has travelled all the way from Oman to support the team.

First Published: Mar 11, 2016 14:14 IST