One day before this year’s GT20 tournament, Geoff Lawson used Salman Nazar 14 for a win. This was in the indoor networks at the Brampton Sports Center. Lawson, the former Australian fast bowler, now the coach of the Toronto Nationals, threw the ball short of 28-year-old Salman, a left-handed spinner who diligently works on his eyelash.
Lawson seemed to increase the speed of his throws with each ball. Salman was creative in trying to kill the target.
Salman needed 4 runs from the last ball of this mini-challenge. Lawson asked him if he was ready. Salman, just over five and a half feet tall and “one of the shortest cricketers out there,” according to some local club cricketers, was helmeted and waiting. Lawson fired it in the middle and on the leg. Salman formed a momentum and paddled behind his shoulder.
Lawson liked that. He approached the batsman, put his hands over his shoulder and said – as Salman later revealed – “If you do not want to hit big, the paddle is a great hit to play with.”
Pakistan-born Salman Nazar came to Canada at the age of six. Already at a young age he liked to observe spinners with his left arm and revered Daniel Vettori for his control and variations.
Salman played for Canada for the first time in 2012. There is a video on YouTube, in which Salman beats in ultra-slow motion on a lonely ground in a game between Sheridan BCC and Toronto SCC against a middle striker with left arm. The clip as 330 views. And no comments.
Salman is never sure which club he will use when it’s his turn, according to his club mate and fellow campaigner in Canada, Rizwan Cheema.
“Salman always tells me,” Oh Rizwan bhai, this thug of yours is awesome. Can I play with it? ” “And I say yes.”
“And then he takes the bat and plays with it all possible practice strikes in the locker room. But when it’s time he comes in, he takes another bat that he probably has not even seen and goes inside. “
Salman is a spinner with his left arm first, but up to five club cricketers insist that he prefers hitting him rather than bowling.
Salman Nazar had no chance to play for the Vancouver Knights in the first season of the GT20. His Canadian team-mate – and leftist-rounder all-rounder – Saad Bin Zafar – played all eight games and was in the finale with a man-of-the-match appearance in the limelight.
When Saad and Salman were interviewed after the tournament, Salman was open enough to talk about the bittersweet experience: wanting to play but not wanting Saad to fail.
In the opening match of this year’s tournament, where he played for Toronto Nationals against his old team Vancouver Knights, Salman cashed 30 runs in three overs. He could not beat.
Two days later, Salman completed four overtaking maneuvers for Edmonton Royals for 24 runs. And picked up the wicket of Faf du Plessis from his first ball. An arm ball to start with. Faf, who beat 28-17 with three emphatic six against the center-forward in his groove, made room for the cut. The ball slipped and rocked from stump.
Salman immediately ran to offspinner Chris Green, who joyfully picked him up. “Chris told me where to bowl,” he later said. “His experience against Faf really came into its own.”
For the next few hours, the game kept swinging. Toronto Nationals were out … until Manpreet Gony pulled her back into the fight with a boisterous 33. When Gony was fired, the team needed 27 out of 17. And only three gates remained.
Salman just wanted to go to the field. At that moment Lawson told him, “Stay with your strengths instead of looking for big hits.” Toronto Nationals needs 14 out of 13. Shadab Khan, the Pakistani leg spinner, threw one in the middle and on the leg.
Salman knelt down and scooped up a fine leg. The moment the ball struck the outfield player, he pumped his left fist with great exuberance. Mark Montfort, another Canadian cricketer, helped him.
In the next round, there were four more bumped by Ben Cutting, and Toronto reached the finish line with seven balls left. Salman Nazar made 9, but it’s a 9 that he’ll probably never forget.
Before leaving the ground, Salman gave autographs to some ball boys. Some of them asked for selfies. The crowd heard calls from “Salman Bhai”.
Salman represents the local Shahid Afridi Cricket Club, which was launched last year. He has been a great admirer of Afridi since his founding years and will now have the chance to join the Legend next week – and maybe even fight it. It’s a fight that nobody will exaggerate. But it’s a fight that means so much to one half of this duo.
We can not say what will happen.
But Salman will do anything to prepare. That’s for sure.