WATCH: Once prospect of national side, Pakistan cricketer turns driver to make ends meet
Cricket in Pakistan is undergoing a massive transition at the moment with the country also battling an economic crisis under the regime of Prime Minister Imran Khan. The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB)'s decision to dissolve departmental cricket in a bid to revamp the domestic cricketing structure was met by criticism from all corners. There were fears that the abandoning of the tournament will result in several local cricketers and budding talents facing financial restraints in continuing their cricket career.
The fears seem to have turned into reality after a viral video on social media shows how a Pakistani first-class cricketer, once touted to get into the national side, has been left driving a pickup mini-truck in Karachi to earn his living and support his family. It was not long ago when 31-year-old Fazal Subhan was a familiar name in the Pakistan First-Class circuit. He also played for Pakistan U-19 side and might have made it big but was left to toil hard to make end meets after the abolishing of departmental cricket.
In a video shared by a Pakistani journalist on Twitter, the first-class cricketer narrates his ordeal and reveals how he went from earning Rs 1 lakh salary in departmental cricket to driving a pickup vehicle for a living. “I worked so hard to play for Pakistan. During departmental cricket, we were drawing a salary of Rs100,000 but since the departments have shut down we are down to Rs30,000-35,000, which is not enough to survive," Subhan can be heard telling the journalist.
“I am grateful that at least I have this job right now because the way things are, who knows if I would even have this tomorrow. We have no choice; we have to do something for our children," he further adds. He further reveals that the work he is doing currently is seasonal and sometimes he earns nothing for over ten days.
“Yes, I drive this (pickup) for bhara (fare). This is seasonal work. Some days there is a lot of work, and sometimes there is nothing for 10 days," says the 31-year-old.
Several current and former Pakistan cricketers including the likes of Kamran Akmal and Mohammad Hafeez took to Twitter to react to the viral video and said it was sad to witness a cricketer struggle like Subhan. Hafeez also slammed the PCB for implementing their new model which has left several cricketers unemployed.
SAD STORY OF— Shoaib Jatt (@Shoaib_Jatt) October 11, 2019
Fazal Subhan was the player of HBL, he has played U19 & A side cricket for Pakistan, he was contender of Pak Test team,
After closing of Departmental cricket he is driving drive
“BHARE KE SUZUKI”
His salary was 1 lac & now earning is less then 40k
So sad Really , Like him & Many others r suffering, New system wil look after 200 players but 1000s of crickters & management staff r Unemployed bcos of this new model , I dont know who wil take the responsibility of this unemployment of cricket fraternity, for all the victims https://t.co/SaQfAKVFU2— Mohammad Hafeez (@MHafeez22) October 12, 2019
It’s really a sad story...heart breaking— Kamran Akmal (@KamiAkmal23) October 11, 2019
Subhan played 40 First-Class matches scoring 2301 runs at an average of 32.87 including five centuries and eleven fifties. He also played 29 List A games scoring 659 runs at an average of 23.53. Subhan revealed that he was once very close to a call-up in the Pakistan national team and was even told by the selectors to keep his passport ready.
“I played for Pakistan Under-19 team, and I also played for Pakistan A. I appeared in 42 first-class matches and was among the top five for two years. I played the home series in Lahore against India. I had played thrice in the series, and scored 39, an unbeaten 22 and once I was out for zero," he stated.
“Once I was in the frame for a Pakistan call-up. I was told by the board to get ready. I had my passport scanned and everything but then I don’t know what happened. Something else was selected, he added.