Siddique Akbar Cricket Club was just over the bend from the rented house where Shadab Khan used to stay in Rawalpindi. But he always took the circuitous road to the club. “Hard ball mein mujhe itna shauk nahin tha (I did not have much interest playing with the hard ball),” he tells Islamabad United TV. Besides, he was scared of getting hit in the nets. So even when he was at the academy, he would stay away from the nets, “doing something or the other.”
On his way to the academy, he would stop at a nearby ground where children of his age would be playing football. “I had more interest in playing football, and without any training, I was picked for the Islamabad U-16 side. But I didn’t go,” he says.
Cricket, though, was the reason his parents left behind their farms at Mianwali on the banks of the Indus for Rawalpindi. So that their cricket-crazy son could enrol at an academy. That son, though, was Mehrab, Shadab’s elder brother. “Mehrab was mad about the game, and a much better player than I am. So another brother, who was studying in the university, put the idea across to shift, so that Mehrab can be a cricketer and I could join a better school,” he says.