Dubai: Aiming to become the world’s greatest cricketer, Mudassir Gujjar is also open to a historic re-entry into the cash-rich Indian Premier League (IPL) currently played in the UAE.
Gujjar, who is in a bit of trouble in his native Lahore due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, is keen to sort things out while achieving long-term career goals in the future.
As I’ve always wanted, I have to reach my first goal by playing for the Pakistan team because then I would be the tallest cricketer in the world, Gujjar told Gulf News from Lahore earlier on Wednesday.
And when I get an offer from the IPL, I have no problem playing alongside all those big and famous names like Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers, Chris Gayle, Jos Buttler or Glenn Maxwell, he added.
Born on October 12, 1997 and reaching a height of a whopping 7.6 meters, the Pakistani youngster has always cherished the goal of becoming the tallest player in international cricket. The young spinner was part of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) player development program after being picked up by the Lahore Qalandars.
IPL as of now does not entertain players from across the border since the first edition, but even this factor does not concern the 23-year-old.
The PSL does not accept players from India and the IPL does not accept players from Pakistan. But who knows, I might be the first to play in the Indian league, Gujjar said.
The pandemic forced Gujjar to keep fit by playing basketball at the local club. One day he hopes to catch up with Pakistanis Mohammad Irfan, who was the tallest bowler in international cricket to date.
An entertainment company based in Karachi has managed to get some modeling jobs for the youngster, but Gujjar doesn’t see this as its real calling. I regularly attended training sessions at the Qalanders High Performance Center in Lahore where my coach Atif Saab oversaw my training schedule. But after the pandemic, I somehow have to make it on my own by playing basketball and using my height a lot to my advantage, he said.
Launched in 2016, the PSL Lahore Qalandars was the second most expensive franchise and one of the few teams to be sold to an international company in Qatar Lubricants Company Limited (QALCO). While the team is currently headed by Sohail Akhtar and coached by former Pakistani paceman Aaquib Javed, the Qalanders have been led by players like Dwayne Bravo, Brendon McCullum and even de Villiers.
Despite all the changes over the past five years, it wasn’t often translated on the field as the Qalanders have finished last on the points table in each of PSL’s first four seasons. This season, the Qalanders have done well to make it to the playoffs against Peshawar Zalmi when the PSL starts again in mid-November.
Gujjar admitted that while his height was due to a hormonal condition, he was in top shape for every level of cricket. My height is actually a blessing because I can run faster and also be the fastest bowler, he said.
I was the tallest kid in school and around. I was six feet tall when I was ten and by the time I was in high school, I was over two feet over two. My parents worried as I continued to grow. They couldn’t understand why I got bigger than my siblings and whether it would cause me problems later on, Gujjar added.
But for now everything is behind him as Gujjar looks ahead to achieve his dreams. I just need to get into the Pakistani team. Once that happens, everyone will notice my potential and things will slowly fall into place.
Date of birth: October 12, 1997
Birthplace: Lahore, Pakistan
Other tall men in cricket: Mohammad Irfan – Pakistan (7.1 ft); Boyd Rankin Northern Ireland / England (6.7 ft); Billy Stanlake Australia (6.7 ft); Bruce Reid Australia (6.66 ft); Joel Garner West Indies (6.66 ft); Peter George Australia (6.66 ft); Curtly Ambrose West Indies (6.6 ft); Jason Holder West Indies (6.6 ft); Suleiman Benn West Indies (6.6 ft); Tom Moody Australia (2.50 ft).