2 minutes with...AFZAAL HAIDER

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 07 November, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 07 November, 2004, 12:00am


Line and length is everything to Hong Kong's leading fast bowler. The father of two young daughters also hopes his genetic line will continue - and that his next child will be a cricket-playing son. He will be in the thick of the action today at the Cathay Pacific/Standard Chartered Hong Kong Sixes. He is 32.

How old are your daughters? My eldest, Maheen, turns nine on Tuesday. Rida is just two. They both live in Pakistan with my wife. I pray that my next child will be a son, to carry the family name and also to be a cricketer.

Your family must miss you? Yes they do. But they are also proud of me, that I have qualified to play for Hong Kong and of my recent success at the ACC Fast Track Countries Tournament (he has taken 19 wickets in three matches).

Did you ever dream you would be playing for Hong Kong? No. Early in my career, I knew I would never be able to play for Pakistan as my peers were the likes of Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis. I left Pakistan to play cricket in England and Australia. I never thought I would end up here.

What brought you to Hong Kong? My wife is from Hong Kong. When I got married in 2000, I had the option of going back to England or Australia, or to come here. I thought I would try something new.

Who did you play for before coming here? In Pakistan I played for Pakistan Universities and Lahore City. I played in the Lancashire/Cheshire League from 1990-92 for Cheetham. In Australia it was District A grade for East Torrens and Port Adelaide from 1994 to 2000.

How fast have you bowled? At my peak in 1999, I touched 147km/h. At the Asia Cup in Sri Lanka this summer, I was recorded at 137km/h.

Your best weapon? To move the ball both ways off the wicket.

And your ambition? To see Hong Kong playing in the emerging nations competition against sides like Holland, Scotland and Ireland.