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For Huraira, getting selected for Pakistan is just a beginning

  • A special conversation between Salman Ali Agha and the 21-year-old is available here which can be used for editorial purposes only
  • Urdu version of the media release is attached here

Karachi, 4 July 2023: 2,252 runs at an average north of 68. Eight centuries – including a highest score of 311 in his debut season – and eight half-centuries in 38 innings. A strike-rate touching 70.

These statistics encapsulate the first-class career – just two seasons long – of 21-year-old Mohammad Huraira who has earned a maiden call-up to the Pakistan squad for the two-Test tour of Sri Lanka this month.

Huraira’s was a dream start to a first-class career. He shot to prominence in his debut Quaid-e-Azam Trophy season in 2021-22 by becoming the second youngest batter to record a triple-century in first-class cricket on Pakistani soil after legendary Javed Miandad. He scored 311 runs at a cruising rate of over 90 with 40 fours and four sixes to help his side Northern thump Balochistan by an innings and 170 runs at the State Bank Ground in Karachi.

He finished that iteration as the leading run-getter and was the only batter to breach the 1,000-run mark in the next. In the 22 Quaid-e-Azam Trophy matches, over the last two years, Huraira has the most runs for a batter with 2,010 at 65.

His clinical performances through solid technique, sound temperament and wide array of strokes has turned many heads and helped him board a plane to Zimbabwe for a Pakistan Shaheens tour recently where he made a century and a half-century in two innings across two first-class matches with the tourists winning both.

“I never fixate myself on results, rather I make sure that I follow the process and tick all the boxes both on and off the field,” Huraira tells Salman Ali Agha in a special PCB Digital interview. “Topping the charts in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy was never on my mind. It was my process – which is sticking to my fitness regime through training and diet and making sure that I give my 100 per cent on the field – that helped me achieve it.

“Patience is key in red-ball cricket. You cannot switch off as the conditions are challenging and they continue to evolve with each passing hour. You need to have a sharp mind to score runs. Self-awareness is of utmost importance as knowing your strengths and weaknesses help you in match situations.”

Huraira has had this ability of finding runs right from the teenage. A product of Pakistan Cricket Board’s age-group programme, he had an outstanding U19 season in 2019 when he finished the U19 one-day tournament with the most runs (342) and three-day tournament with the third most. Upon being rewarded with a spot in the Pakistan side for the ICC Men’s U19 Cricket World Cup in South Africa in 2020, Huraira scored a half-century on debut against Afghanistan and took two catches for which he was named player of the match.

While he comes from a prestigious lineage of Sialkot batters who have left an indelible mark, Huraira also had a role model in former Pakistan captain Shoaib Malik in his family. “My uncle [Shoaib Malik] has been a motivation for me. Seeing him play at the highest level for such a long period gave me that boost that I can also follow his example. I have healthy discussions with him about cricket, and life in general. He has helped me in my career.”

Huraira is currently successfully juggling between an associate degree programme in accounting and finance from the University of Sialkot and top-flight cricket. “The university provides me relaxation for cricket so that helps me in pursuing the sport,” he says.

For Huraira, however, who has 10 List A matches and six T20 games to add to his 24 first-class matches, the Test selection is an opportunity to materialise his dreams. “It is everyone’s dream to represent Pakistan at the highest level so I am very excited. I spoke to my family and they all were very happy. It is all because of the prayers of my parents. This is just a beginning. I want to play for Pakistan for a long time.”