Ghulam Mudassar, a cricketer out of Pakistan’s footballing hotbed

1:22 AM ETUmar FarooqPakistan correspondent, ESPNcricinfo FacebookTwitterFacebook MessengerPinterestEmailprint

Another fast bowler from Pakistan, but what’s different about Ghulam Mudassar?

Not just another fast bowler, because Ghulam Muddasar hails from Lyari in Karachi, traditionally a region which produces only footballers.

A native of Haripur Hazaran, in the northern part of Pakistan in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, Muddasir grew up in Lyari, an area of Karachi which had a vicious reputation for gang-related violence but was also known as Pakistan’s footballing hotbed. Lyari has a vibrant culture and has also given the country bodybuilders and boxers, but a 19-year-old left-arm fast bowler is something new. ,

What has he played so far?

In 2011, Mudassar was spotted by PCB’s U-16 programme at the age of 12. He played for Karachi but did not make much impact with three wickets in four games that were part of the programme. That was the youngster’s first time away from home, and he travelled nearly 1000 km away to Lahore. He returned to play inter-district U-19 cricket for Karachi and when he turned 13, Mudassar was picked up by Port Qasim Authority to play the inter-department (3-day tournament) in 2012. Barely a teenager, he earned 18 wickets at 26.27 including an eight-for on debut at Islamabad’s Diamond Cricket Club.

So, any first-class cricket under his belt?

Despite never being selected for the Pakistan U-19 side, he has played domestic cricket from a young age. He made his first-class debut in 2015 for Karachi Whites and finished the season with 31 wickets at 34.67 in eight games. In all, he has played 19 first-class games – 14 for Karachi Whites, four for National Bank of Pakistan and one for Pakistan A – bagging 65 wickets with 30.81. In 33 List-A games, he has 41 wickets at 37.56.

His numbers aren’t great, so how is he in the PSL?

Numbers, perhaps, don’t reflect his talent. He was selected after a Lahore Qalandars trial in 2017, where he participated under the ‘Rising Stars’ category. There he worked with Aaqib Javed and Mudassar Nazar. Back then, he wasn’t selected in the XI for any game, but has since become one of Pakistan’s top young players. In 2017 and 2018, he represented Pakistan in the Asian Cricket Council Emerging Teams Cup.

He consequently earned a BPL contract in 2017, playing only one game where he conceded 31 runs in two overs. For PSL 2019, he was picked up by Quetta Gladiators and has become an integral part of the team, sharing the ball with fellow quicks Sohail Tanvir and Mohammad Irfan.

What’s the best thing about him?

For him, fast bowling is ‘madness’, and a bit of control can make him a standout pacer. He possesses a natural inswinger but is also adding the slower ball and yorker to his stock. He grew up watching his idol Wasim Akram on TV and wants to emulate the former Pakistan captain.