Time Wednesday Jun 23 2021

'It is my dream': Shahnawaz Dahani wants to represent Pakistan in the World Cup

Pacer Shahnawaz Dahani gestures during an interview with Geo.tv from Abu Dhabi, on June 23, 2021. — Photo by author
Pacer Shahnawaz Dahani gestures during an interview with Geo.tv from Abu Dhabi, on June 23, 2021. — Photo by author

KARACHI: A few months ago, pacer Shahnawaz Dahani was not the household name he is today. Hardly anyone knew about or had heard anything about him.

Fast forward to today, June 23, 2021, and he is enjoying all the limelight his PSL performance has got him. Everyone is chanting slogans to celebrate his success — even his opponents have become his cheerleaders on the field.

The Pakistan Super League (PSL) has changed everything for Dahani. But, the youngster from Larkana remains grounded and humble and wants to remain unchanged despite getting all the fame.

The 22-year-old fast bowler hails from a small village near Larkana — Khuhawar Khan Dahani.

In an exclusive interview with Geo.tv, Dahani shared his experience of playing in the PSL, how the league has helped him improve as a cricketer, and his future goals.

“Playing in the PSL has made me a different cricketer. I entered this league as an emerging talent and spent time with some of the best professionals of the game. The main support this league provided me was to overcome my fear and nervousness," the pacer told Geo.tv from Abu Dhabi, ahead of his side Multan Sultans’ PSL final against Peshawar Zalmi.

“I can now bowl against anyone and enter the ground with full confidence and perform bravely,” the fast bowler said.

Dahani has taken 20 wickets in 10 PSL games so far and is currently the leading wicket-taker of the tournament followed by Zalmi’s Wahab Riaz, who has taken 18 wickets. However, Dahani is confident of retaining the Fazal Mehmood cap of the best bowler.

He said that he is proud of the way he has performed in the tournament.

“It is a wonderful and amazing feeling for me to be at the top when it comes to lead wicket-takers, in the presence of some of the top-most bowlers. I am happy to achieve this position and looking forward to keeping the record with me till the end of the final,” Dahani said.

The energetic and full-of-life bowler has also grabbed everyone’s attention due to his unique style of celebration in which he depicts answering a phone call.

When asked about the secret behind the “phone-call-celebration”, he said: “I just do this to announce that I am prepared to play top-level cricket for Pakistan and want to play more league matches."

“I always try to keep a smile on my face, even if I am hit for a six, as it gives me confidence and encourages me to do better. It is in my nature to always smile,” Dahani said, with his signature smile.

Dahani once used to bowl barefooted and play tape ball cricket in his village where he was called a “3G bowler” by his teammates.

Has Dahani changed as a person since then?

“Absolutely not,” he replied.

“I am still the same for my village people, for my friends, and my well-wishers. I will always be the same Shahnawaz Dahani for my people and will love everyone and stay humble,” he promised.

The “3G bowler” from Larkana has also set his eyes on goals beyond PSL and one of them is to play in the World Cup for Pakistan.

Dahani said there can’t be anything bigger for a sportsman to represent his country in a World Cup.

“To play in the World Cup for Pakistan is my dream,” he said.

“If I get a chance to play in the T20 World Cup, I assure you that I will give my utmost to prove my mettle and show to the world that I am among the best,” he said confidently.


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