Mystery spinner Abrar Ahmed had a bright start to his Test career after bagging a five-wicket haul on the first morning of his debut match.
Abrar is the 252nd player from Pakistan to play Test cricket as he was named in the XI announced by Pakistan captain Babar Azam at the toss for the second of the three Tests against England at the Multan Cricket Stadium on Friday.
Abrar was born in Karachi but his family hails from a small village called Shinkiari in Mansehra district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
The 24-year-old developed interest in the game while playing tape-ball cricket in Karachi’s Lines Area.
Abrar suffered a major career setback just when he was starting to make a name for himself in the domestic cricket.
After the PSL in 2017, where he was Karachi Kings’ emerging pick, Abrar suffered a stage-five stress fracture and was out of action for two years.
“He [Abrar] could have been paralyzed. It was serious. I remember the doctor telling our elder brother and me that he might never be able to play cricket again,” his brother Sajid recalled in an interview with The Indian Express.
Abrar made his first-class debut in 2020 while playing for Sindh, against Southern Punjab, in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy.
He currently has 76 wickets in 26 first-class innings at an average of 25.56 with best match figures of 11-63.
Interestingly, Abrar had never heard about legendary Pakistan leg-spinner Abdul Qadir during his early cricket days.
“Who is he, never heard his name,” Abrar replied when asked about Qadir by Mushtaq Ahmed, the then head coach of Pakistan’s National Cricket Academy in Lahore, five years ago.
West Indies spinner Sunil Narine is Abrar’s role model in cricket, according to his coach Mohammad Masroor.
Abrar had received maiden call-up in the Test squad ahead of this series following an impressive run in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy 2022-23. The 24-year-old right-arm spinner won the best bowler of the tournament award and topped the leading wicket-taker chart with 43 scalps in seven matches at an average of 21.95.