Photo Credit: Pakistan Cricket Board
Pakistan’s pace factory has another tearaway pacer, still evolving into exciting moulds. Ubaid Shah, Pakistan Test player Naseem Shah’s youngest brother, is aspiring to utilise the South African conditions during the ICC Men’s U19 World Cup 2024.
He too grew up loving the game in the mountains of Lower Dir, before shifting to Lahore to pursue his professional career. Ubaid has so far played eight one-day games for Pakistan U19, picking up 19 scalps and hasn’t been wicketless in any of the games.
In a chat with PCB Digital, he said, “Everyone loved cricket in Lower Dir but no one really had an idea about how to play proper cricket with a leather ball and on a rolled turf. We used to watch some of our legends play on the television and were inspired by them.”
Like his brothers, Naseem and Hunain Shah, Ubaid too learned the craft of pace bowling right from his early days. Following his siblings, he used to sneak out of their village home and play local tape-ball games.
Ubaid’s passion for the game helped him win the confidence of his father who allowed him to shift to Lahore and start training. He was given one year to prove his mettle or give up on his dream of pursuing a cricket career and grabbed the opportunity with both hands. He was selected to play for Central Punjab U16 and then proceeded to play in the U19 circuit.
Ubaid stated: “I love James Anderson’s bowling in Test cricket and I watch Naseem Shah’s bowling a lot. He often gives me tips as well. We sit down to talk about the nitty-gritty of fast bowling. I try to learn more about in-swing bowling which comes naturally to me. I’m working on the outswing as well.”
Ubaid forms a handy quartet with fellow U19 pacers, Amir Hassan, Mohammad Zeeshan, and Ali Raza, allowing Pakistan’s team management a variety of pace bowling options in the mega-event. His role as an enforcer in the attack will be vital to Pakistan’s performance in the World Cup.
“I’ll try and make the most of the conditions in South Africa,” he claimed. “We have a very good batting line-up to fall back on and have bowled well as a unit in the Asia Cup getting wickets at regular intervals. We are eager to do well in the World Cup.”