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From humble beginnings in Karak to U19 World Cup in South Africa - Khubaib Khalil hopes to rise to the top

  • Video interview is available here
  • Urdu version of the media release is attached here

Lahore, 18 January 2024: Bowling all-rounder Khubaib Khalil hails from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Karak district and carved his career after overcoming various hurdles. He now aims to help Pakistan U19 win the ICC Men’s U19 World Cup 2024 in South Africa.

Khubaib made his One-Day debut for Pakistan U19 in the ACC Men’s Asia Cup 2023-24 and bagged two wickets against Afghanistan U19 in a promising spell.

Khubaib’s father was not in favour of enrolling him in a proper cricket facility due to financial constraints. His first coach, Matiullah, earmarked him as a future star and helped him get admission to the Islamia Cricket Academy in Kohat, some 70 kilometers from his hometown.

At the academy, young Khubaib was allowed to use the equipment and train every other day, resulting in his selection for FATA Region U13 in the PCB U13 Inter-Regional T20 Tournament 2017 and the subsequent edition in 2018.

He shed light on his struggles in the early days in a chat with PCB Digital, “I have played cricket in very tough circumstances. I had to work odd jobs to make ends meet, even working as a labourer. My father was struggling with financial issues. I got some money from PCB after playing in the National U19 competitions which helped me sort out a lot of issues. That was the first time I bought my own kit bag whereas before that I was using Matiullah’s equipment.”

Khubaib picked up pace bowling after being inspired by South Africa great Dale Steyn. Possessing a smooth action with a steady approach to the crease, he has showcased his ability to hit probing lengths regularly and frustrate batters with his line and length.

Khubaib has shown promise with the bat too, demonstrating good defence and power-hitting skills. His reliability as a lower-order batter was evident in the net sessions where coaches put their trust in his batting ability.

“I’m glad to have represented Pakistan at the recent U19 Asia Cup which was a great exposure for me,” Khubaib said. “I’ve done well in the domestic U19 competitions with both bat and ball which gives me confidence to do well in the World Cup. We have a very good squad that has been mentored by some of the best coaches including Mohammad Yousuf and I’m sure we’ll put a great show in the World Cup.”