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From Afghan street to Irish U-19 team, an 8,000 km-long story

MUZAMIL SHERZAD’S journey to the U-19 World Cup within the Caribbean is like no different.

Regardless of runs and wickets, the story of the one-time informal tape-ball road cricketer in Afghanistan’s Jalalabad, who’s now an Eire pacer and among the many finest junior gamers from all over the world, is already worthy of a guide, a documentary — or perhaps a function movie.

5 years in the past, when Sherzad was simply 14, his mom paid a tout to take him to Eire the place his uncle labored at a quick meals outlet. All he had with him was some home-cooked meals and 50 Euros.

For the following 8-9 months, Sherzad, together with different immigrants, crossed the borders of Pakistan, Iran, Turkey, Bulgaria, Serbia, Croatia, Italy and France. Strolling, operating, hiding within the forests, sleeping in parks and hitch-hiking, he would journey shut to eight,300 km in the hunt for his uncle and a greater life.

As soon as in Eire, Sherzad, to his shock, discovered that cricket would assist him make buddies and provides him a brand new identification. And, in a outstanding change of a fortune, he would quickly change into a World Cupper for his new nation.

Chatting with The Indian The Press Reporter on Zoom from Georgetown in Guyana, Sherzad, who misplaced his father on the age of 5, mentioned: “After a household dispute over property, my mom bought in contact with an agent and packed me off. My life was beneath risk.”

From the consolation of his lodge room for the continued U-19 event, Sherzad can’t assist however look again on all these powerful days on the street. “At one level, I used to be in a camp attempting to cross into Croatia for quite a few months. From there, I travelled by truck for three-four days and arrived in Milan,” he mentioned.

At Cherbourg in France, he bought into one other truck that was on a ferry. “It was chilly and darkish. I used to be now by myself, this was the scariest evening of the lengthy journey. After a couple of hours, I might make out that the truck was not on the ferry anymore and was transferring. I banged on the aspect. The motive force stopped, and when he opened the again door, I jumped out,” he mentioned.

Luck would see him lastly attain Eire however the ordeal was removed from over. His first evening in Dublin was spent in a park as a result of he didn’t know the place his uncle stayed. In one other stroke of luck, the boy who couldn’t communicate English met an Asian man who gave him instructions to a refugee centre in Dublin. “A baby safety company positioned me with a household, till they discovered my uncle. I then went to dwell with him in Tipperary,” he says.

Sherzad’s brush with cricket occurred two years in the past when he noticed a Cricket Eire commercial a few fast-bowling expertise hunt, and rapidly signed up by Fb.

Albert van der Merwe, Cricket Eire’s expertise pathway supervisor, says he and his colleagues on the expertise hunt, with 50 aspirants, had been impressed by Sherzad’s pure expertise.

“The primary time I met Sherzad was at a Cricket Eire Expertise Identification Programme in October 2019. They bowled at a few of the academy batsmen, and we preferred what we noticed in Muzamil. We took some movies and confirmed it to the academy supervisor, and Muzamil was invited to some classes. At this stage, we didn’t actually know the backstory,” says van der Merwe, who’s in Guyana with the Eire U-19 crew.
To fund his cricket gear, Sherzad joined his uncle on the quick meals joint. Van der Merwe says he bought to learn about Sherzad’s journey after he joined the academy. “It has given me a glimpse into what he will need to have gone by. His journey to Eire is one thing I battle to wrap my head round. The furthest I went from house by myself as a 14-year-old was to the store or to highschool,” he mentioned.

Sherzad, a die-hard fan of Virender Sehwag and a Bollywood follower, is able to make a reputation on the World Cup. He says the presence of many Afghanistan gamers, together with their high star leggie Rashid Khan, in Sunrisers Hyderabad has bought him within the IPL, too. He has already picked up Hindi from movies just like the Aamir Khan-starrer “3 Idiots”.

And but, past cricket, Sherzad has an unfulfilled want: he needs to satisfy his household, mom, two brothers and a sister. “I by no means thought that I might be taking part in cricket for Eire at a World Cup. I want my mom and siblings might watch me play. I miss them so much. I’m attempting to get them to Eire. I’ve utilized for his or her visas. Let’s see what the longer term has in retailer.”

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