Farhan Saeed: A Disabled Cricket with an Unbreakable Spirit
Farhan Saeed is a right-arm pacer from Pakistan. He has a one-of-a-kind bowling action. So what sets him apart in the crowd of cricketers who play for Pakistan? Well, he is a part of the disabled team of the nation. What he has lacking in his physical condition, he makes up with unbreakable spirit. He has enviable determination which is probably the reason that he has been successful in beating the odd and capturing the attention of the world with his unique style. Instead of hesitating to play his favorite sport, Saeed has chosen to show the world what he is capable of.
During the first ever T20 match between physically challenged cricket teams, played on 27 February 2015 between the Disability teams of Pakistan and England at the ICC Global Cricket Academy, in Dubai Sports City, Saeed led his team to a victory by 14 runs. The 29 year old player from Korangi, Karachi, overcame his disability caused due to polio that affected his left leg when he was just 2 years of age. In fact, the match is just one of the many hurdles that this brave-heart has crossed.
Due to his disability, Saeed was unable to attend a regular school, or play with other children. He has also been subjected to ridicule and negligence from other children for the same. He has been dejected with his own life many a times, and future was bleak. However, he did not lose heart. Once, when other children were playing cricket with a tennis ball, he tried his hand at bowling, and became successful. In 2007, encouraged by his friend, he attended the trial for the Physically Disabled Cricketers, where he found several others like him, with similar disabilities, and similar dreams.
Founder of Disability Cricket Mr. Saleem Karim started this unique team to give the disabled young boys, passionate about a sport, a new opportunity to and purpose in life. After a few practice sessions, their excitement was palpable. Since then, they have played several matches, including, National Championship, Pentangular Cups, Local Tournaments, Friendly Matches, etc. They even toured Singapore and Malaysia in March 2010 to introduce Physically Disabled Cricket at an international level. Saeed, who had lived on just one leg, practically for his entire life, was one of those who benefited from this initiative greatly.
With a burning passion for bowling, Saeed uses a crutch for mobility, and has been able to develop great skill. With legendary Pakistan bowler Shoaib Akhtar as his idol, Saeed has mastered the craft of fast bowling from a long distance, with exceeding fierceness. His crutch propels him along the way. His performance has been able to turn heads. According to Mohammad Nizam, the side’s media manager and joint-secretary of PDCA, “The first time Pakistan’s disabled cricket team played international series was in 2012 against England in the UAE.” He also added, “Many high-profile people of cricket, including the former ICC Chief Haroon Lorgat and the former PCB Chairman Zaka Ashraf, were present at the venue when Farhan Saeed delivered first ball.”
It is true that when the man, who has reached where he has today with no formal training, and has had his cricketing skills honed on the streets, created an emotional moment with his incredible performance. Indeed, a moment as this is a moment of pride for everyone associated with cricket. Saeed, who prefers to bowl with a run up and over-arm action, is proud of have met all the greatest players. He attributes his success to his passion for the game and the prayers of his parents.