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'It has been a long journey' - Nauman Ali pleased to don Pakistan jersey
Pakistan News

'It has been a long journey' - Nauman Ali pleased to don Pakistan jersey

Left-arm spinner Nauman Ali sent down 17 tight overs during South Africa's first innings of the series opener in Karachi but each one of them was a reward for his long journey of domestic toil and endurance.

Hailing from the small town of Khipro, a subdivision of the Sanghar division in Pakistan's Sindh province, Nauman finally broke into the Test side on the back of a few bumper first-class seasons.

He was the leading wicket-taker in the previous edition of Quaid-e-Azam Trophy with 54 scalps at an average of 25.39 and was once again in stellar form in the recently concluded first-class competition as he took 61 wickets at 23.16.

Nauman's consistent bowling heroics for Northern, coached by Mohammad Wasim before his appointment as chief selector, made him optimistic about his chances of getting his Test cap despite not having the most privileged background.

"I was hopeful of getting a call-up after bowling well and taking wickets in the last two seasons of Quaid-e-Azam trophy," Nauman told reporters on Tuesday.

The 34-year-old became the fourth oldest cricketer from Pakistan to make his Test debut and chipped in with a vital contribution to skittle South Africa for 220.

He got the prized wicket of Quinton de Kock to mark his maiden international wicket and followed it up by dismissing the innings top-scorer Dean Elgar for 58 to cap off a fruitful outing in the middle.

Nauman's disciplined bowling reflected in his low economy rate of 2.24 helped fellow spinner Yasir Shah to attack from the other end and make inroads into South Africa's batting.

But it was an arduous path to Nauman getting a spot in Pakistan's playing XI.

"It has been a long journey. I was born in Khipro but moved to Hyderabad to pursue a career as a professional cricketer with my uncle," he shared. "My father works in the clerical staff of an oil factory in Hyderabad now."

Pakistan has not had a rich history of backing left-arm spinners in the Test line-up for an extended period of time. 

Abdur Rehman played 22 Tests for Pakistan before being chucked out as Zulfiqar Babar made his debut at an older age than Nauman in 2013. He too got only 15 games as Zafar Gohar became the latest candidate in the role but was left out of the team after just one match.

Nauman is confident his skills will not see him being discarded so soon as he is ready to embrace the challenge of succeeding in any playing conditions.

"If the team management shows confidence in me, I am ready to deliver anywhere not only in home series," he said.