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Tuesday April 30, 2013

Pakistan unearth new speed hope

KARACHI: Little-known bowler Ahmed Jamal has vowed to make a name for himself after winning a nationwide “King of Speed” competition launched by cricket chiefs to unearth a new Pakistani quick.

Pakistan boast a proud history of pacemen including the likes of Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis and Shoaib Akhtar and Jamal showed he has the pace to frighten batsmen with a fastest delivery of 143kph.

The 24-year-old, who hails from Abbottabad, made famous for being the city where Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden was killed by US forces in 2011, came out on top in the competition organised by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).

Jamal, who plays first-class cricket for Port Qasim, was delighted to scoop the one million rupee (US$10,000) prize after the four-man final.

“I am thrilled and very happy,” Jamal said. “My feet were on the ground before I won this and will remain on the ground after winning the prize as I want to make a name for myself.”

The PCB organised the hunt for fast bowlers after chief selector Iqbal Qasim raised concerns about poor quality in the pace department.

Jamal was picked from trials in Abbottabad earlier this month, one of a series in 10 cities to find a bowler with 145kph speed. The other three finalists were Faisal Yasin, Abdul Hameed and Mohammad Imran.

The bowler acknowledged the infamy that bin Laden had brought on Abbottabad and Pakistan after he was shot dead in the garrison city on May 2, 2011. His wives later said they had been living there for five years. — AFP

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