Peeping through the Past-Nasir & Wasim’s club mate’s monologue
He had a learning attitude and was very respectful to the seniors, as it was the culture of Ludhiana club that we inherited from Saud Khan and Wasim Akram. Nasir started following the instructions immediately.
I, Wasim and Nasir have never played together but I have played with Wasim at the start of my career and with Nasir at the end of my career under the guidance of one coach, Saud Khan, from one club, Ludhiana.’
I was watching Nasir Jamshaid’s match winning innings against Australia and was praising his outstanding performance in the T-20 World Cup against New Zealand, Bangladesh and in the match against mighty Aussies when Wasim Akram’s comments turned me nostalgic by saying, ‘I and Nasir Jamshaid have one thing in common. We have been playing from the same Ludhiana cricket club and were trained by the same coach Mr. Saud Khan. But I and Nasir never played together.’
I too have a few things in common with these two heroes of Pakistan cricket. I, Wasim and Nasir have never played together but I have played with Wasim at the start of my career and with Nasir at the end of my career under the same coach Saud Khan from the same club.
Wasim Akram’s statement reminded me of the golden old days. I was junior to Wasim and senior to Nasir. Wasim used to visit the Ludhiana club as a Super Star in the mid, 90s; the very period when I started my cricketing career from the legendary all-rounder’s club’ Ludhiana club.
Wasim was the first playing-hero of my generation. Wasim was very respectful to his seniors, especially Saud Khan who was his first mentor. Wasim would always give useful tips to the fast bowlers of the club in his short visits. Being a part of Ludhiana club, I would always own those two deliveries which bowled Allan Lamb and Chriss Lewis out of the World Cup 1992 as if I bowled them out and earned world cup for Ludhiana club. I played for many years from the very club. It was a fun playing in presence of a legend and under the coaching of his mentor. Telling the tales of Wasim’s success and Saud Khan’s coaching style would always be a matter of pride and pleasure. I would proudly say that I and Wasim have two things in common and that was the club and the coach. Wasim and Saud Khan have played with Imran Khan in different phases of their careers and were blessed with the same attitude. This attitude travelled through generations of Ludhiana club and reached Nasir.
Saud Khan has a charismatic personality, and for fast bowlers, he appears as a magnet. Cricketers in general and fast bowlers of local and international fame in particular still visit him to learn the techniques of handling batsmen of modern cricket and especially to have a dose of optimism. He never gave up. He never tells his players to give up. He is never hopeless and he never tells his players to be hopeless until the last ball is delivered or the tournament is over.
Sadly, Pakistan does not have a strong system of grooming the talented youth into professional cricketers. In the absence of professional coaches and in the presence of too many ‘Khaleefay’, the balloon of real talent gets deflated right at the club level.
However, Saud Khan has a history of developing raw talent into professional and zealous cricketers. He has experienced setbacks in his shining days. He understands the pain when someone tells him that they have been dropped because of the poor performance. He empathises with those and grooms the bereft who share their gloom tale with the legendary coach, of not getting selected at the highest level in spite of being the best amongst their peers.
He is the one who nurtured the likes of prolific Wasim Akram, Ijaz Ahmad, Ata-ur-Rahman, Zahid Fazal, Abdul Rauf, Ashfaq Ahmad, Nasir Jamshaid and many others. Saud Khan remains a ray of hope for the next generation.
One fine day, I received a call from my coach (Saud Khan) who asked me to join Ludhiana club’s team at Punjab University ground for a match against daily khabrain. I played the match and we outclassed our opponent in that friendly match. With the help of Yasir Jamshaid’s unbeaten century, we put a handsome total of 274 runs on board and defended it successfully. I sent Khabrain’s 5 batsmen home in a 200 runs victory. We went back to the club next day and were celebrating our outstanding performance when Yasir’s younger brother Nasir arrived and asked Yasir to come with him for a routine knocking. I noticed that Nasir’s shot selection was amazing but he was not playing with a straight bat. I told him to play with a straight bat first and then to go for huge shots. He had a learning attitude and was very respectful as it was a culture of Ludhiana club that we inherited from Saud Khan and Wasim Akram. He started following the instructions immediately. He was playing shots with straight bat now, managing his footwork successfully, enjoying his cricket and thanking back ‘the coach’.