Peshawar, December 23 (The Express Tribune): Twenty-year old Mahindar Pal Singh, hailing from the warn-torn FATA, has become the first-ever member from his community to join the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Lahore.
Mahindar aims to be part of the Pakistan cricket team – the Green Brigade – soon.
“I never thought I will be a part of this academy, but now my dream has come true — a dream that my father also had for himself but could not achieve,” said Mahindar while talking to The Express Tribune.
Mahindar, eldest of his five siblings, is a student of Doctor of Pharmacy in Punjab University and lives in Nankana Sahib, a holy place for Sikh community, but his roots lead back to the Khyber Agency. His father, along with his family, migrated to Nankana Sahib nearly 15 years ago.
Mahindar, a fast-bowler, started his journey after completing his matriculation and joined the training academy in Mughulpura.
“It was really disappointing that in Nankana Sahib, which is a large district, there is no playground,” he said. “We used to play in Gurdwara’s yard. However, no problem was able to deflate my passion to wear the green shirt in international cricket and that helped me find the right path.”
According to Mahindar, his inspiration came from his father, who was also a fast-bowler. “My father was the only person who supported me and helped me reach this point.”
Mahindar was selected for an emerging player camp organised by NCA in Mardan where he participated in open trials of emerging players. The youngster, like many others, idealises Pakistan legends Waqar Younis and Wasim Akram.
“I got my inspiration after watching Waqar and Wasim; both are magical bowlers,” he said, adding that his favourite batsman is Indian legend Sachin Tendulkar.
He also rued the chance of not being able to play at the under U19 level due to a lack of support and guidance because no one in his Sikh community represented Pakistan at the national level.
“I want to highlight the name of my country, my family and my community,” he said. “My community members often told me to go abroad and join some other country’s cricket team but I used to reply that I will be a part of the ‘green team’ in the future.”
(The featured image at the top shows Mahinder Pal Singh with the chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board Shaharyar Khan)