Mahinder Pal Singh becomes the first Sikh cricketer who is selected in Pakistan’s National Cricket Academy (NCA). He belongs to Nankana Sahib district.
The 21-year old found a place in a fast bowlers camp organized by Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB). He was selected for the emerging players camp held in Multan under PCB’s tutelage. Although the seamer lives in the Nankana Sahib district of Pakistan’s Punjab province, he originally hails from the war-torn Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).
I am the first youth from Pakistan’s Sikh community to be selected to the National Cricket Academy. I am proud and will represent the whole Sikh community of Pakistan.
“My wish in the coming years is that if I get a chance, I will make Pakistan proud” Mahinder Pal said.
He added, “In this moment of happiness, I wish to thank all my coaches and PCB Chairman (Shaharyar Khan). The blessings of the Sikh Community and the whole of Pakistan has taken me to this stage, and I am hopeful of continuing my hard work and make Pakistan proud.”
Mahinder is a student of pharmacy in Punjab University, but conceded that in the last few months he has given more time to cricket. His father, an ardent cricket lover and a fast bowler, migrated with his family from Mardan district in Khyber Agency to Nankana Sahib about 15 years ago.
“My father wanted to play competitive cricket but could not do so because he had to take care of the family and set up a business in Nankana Sahib. But he has now passed on his dream to me.”
According to Mahinder’s own admission, there is no viable ground in Nankana Sahib. As a result, he would often play in Gurudwara’s yard. But, that did not deter him from start chasing his dream. He felt, “It would be lovely to become the first Sikh Cricketer in Pakistan to play for the national team but right now my dream is to first play first class cricket and showcase my talent. I am learning everyday as there is so much cricket shown on television nowadays.”
He said his role-models are Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis and Shoaib Akhtar. Among batsmen, he has enjoyed watching Sachin Tendulkar in action.
To date only seven non-Muslims have played for Pakistan, among them five Christians and two Hindus.