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Upper Dir's Muhammad Riazullah keen to prove himself at the ICC U19 World Cup

  • Muhammad Riazullah’s video interview available here
  • Urdu version of the media release attached here

Lahore, 18 January 2024: Muhammad Riazullah – a middle-order batter – is expected to be a vital cog in the Pakistan line-up at the ICC U19 World Cup in South Africa. Hailing from Upper Dir, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the young right-handed batter had to overcome all odds to materialise his dream of playing cricket professionally.

Riazullah made the decision to move to Peshawar at a very early age to pursue cricket. At first, his parents were reluctant with his decision before he won over their support with his passion and commitment.

“Upper Dir had limited facilities, so I had to move to Peshawar,” he told PCB Digital. “My family did not want me to move but I promised that I would focus on my education while pursuing cricket.”

However, moving to Peshawar brought more struggles for Riazullah. “We were struggling financially at the time as my brother had cancer. My father was a schoolteacher and most of his salary would be directed towards my brother’s treatment. When my coaches learnt about my finanacial constraints, they supported me by significantly reducing my fee.”

In 2018, Riazullah began playing club cricket in Peshawar – his first foray into professional cricket. In the subsequent year, he featured in the PCB-organised U13 regional tournament.

Riazullah came into the limelight with his performance in the 2021-22 National U16 Cup, where he represented Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Whites U16 and topped the batting charts with 419 runs in six games, including a century and four half-centuries.

In the 2023-24 National U19 Cup, Riazullah finished as the tournament’s second-highest run-getter. Playing for Abbottabad U19, he registered two centuries in four games and earned a call-up to the national U19 team for the home series against Sri Lanka U19. Riazullah also starred with a match-winning half-century against Afghanistan U19 in the ACC U19 Asia Cup 2023.   

Citing Babar Azam as his inspiration, Riazullah hopes to emulate the dynamic batter in his career. He sees the upcoming U19 World Cup as the perfect opportunity to prove himself.

Riazullah said: “I have worked hard with the coaches to prepare for South African conditions. It is a big honour to represent Pakistan at the U19 World Cup. Previously, Upper Dir’s Kamran Ghulam represented Pakistan U19 and it was a great feeling for the entire town. I want to make everyone in my family and in my town proud the same way.”