x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

A Kuwait-born seam bowler is Pakistan's latest cricket hero

The newly capped seam bowler Tanvir Ahmed, was born just across the Gulf in the cricketing backwater of Kuwait.

ABU DHABI // Given the extensive turnover of players they have had during their recent troubles, Pakistan have been forced to look in some unusual places to plug the leaks.

Their latest star turn, the newly capped seam bowler Tanvir Ahmed, was born just across the Gulf in the cricketing backwater of Kuwait.

He had never played cricket before the Iraqi invasion of 1992 provoked an exodus of expatriates back to their respective homelands. War prompted Tanvir's family to return to Karachi, where, by then aged 14, he started playing the sport in the streets with his new friends.

His wait for international recognition has been a long one, especially by the standards of Pakistan cricket, where youth is traditionally worshipped.

He was handed his first cap at 9.30 yesterday morning, at the ripe old age of 31, and having been forced to wait on the fringes for four months after initially being called up to the squad for the fateful trip to England.

He was keen to make up for lost time, and he did so with gusto, collecting four for 67 on his first day as an international cricketer.

"I do not mind I had to wait for so long," he said. "By just being around all these players I have learned a lot.

"I was told I was going to play [on Friday, on the eve of the game], and I could not sleep.

"I was so excited that I was going to get the chance to bowl to Jacques Kallis and Hashim Amla."

pradley@thenational.ae