New Delhi. Ireland’s off-spinner Muzamil Sherzad’s journey to the Under-19 World Cup is not common. Playing cricket with a tape ball in the streets of Jalalabad, Afghanistan, Muzamil is now one of the best junior players in the world of cricket. A film or web series can be made comfortably on his struggling journey. Five years ago, when Sherzad was 14, his mother paid a pimp to take him to Ireland. There his uncle worked in a fast food outlet. When Sherzad left Jalalabad, he had only some home-cooked food and about Rs 5000.
After this, for the next 8-9 months, Sherzad crossed the borders of Pakistan, Iran, Turkey, Bulgaria, Serbia, Croatia, Italy and France along with other immigrants. During this he had to walk, run, hide in forests, sleep in parks. Sherzad traveled about 8300 km in search of a better life with his uncle. After reaching Ireland, Sherzad realized that by playing cricket he would get a chance to make his identity and friends. He was blessed with luck and today he has become the star player of Ireland.
Speaking to the English newspaper Indian Express from Georgetown, Guyana, Sherzad said, “I lost my father at the age of 5. After a family property dispute, my mother came in contact with an agent and packed me up. My life was in danger.” Currently, Sherzad is in a luxurious hotel in the West Indies, but there was a time when he stayed in the camp while crossing Croatia. From there traveled in a truck for three-four days to go to Milan (Italy).
He boarded a yacht in Cherbourg, France. It was very cold and dark during this time. Sherzad says that fortunately he finally reached Ireland but the troubles were not over. He spent the first night in Dublin in a park because he didn’t know where the uncle lived. Sherzad could not speak English and once again he got the support of luck. He met an Asian man who gave the address of a refugee center in Dublin. He had to stay in the child care home until his uncle was found.
Sherzad’s love for cricket happened two years ago when he saw an advertisement in Cricket Ireland about fast bowling talent hunt. Cricket Ireland’s talent manager Albert van der Merwe says he and his colleagues were impressed by Sherzad’s natural talent.
After this, Sherzad started working with his uncle in a fast food outlet to buy cricket kits. Virender Sehwag’s die-hard fan and Bollywood fan Sherzad is all set to make a name for the World Cup. The presence of many players from Afghanistan, including star leg-spinner Rashid Khan, has aroused their interest in the IPL as well. He has already learned Hindi from films like Aamir Khan starrer ‘3 Idiots’.
Despite playing the World Cup, he has an unfulfilled wish. He wants to meet his family, mother, two brothers and a sister. He said, “I never thought that I would play cricket for Ireland in the World Cup. I wish my mother and siblings could watch me play. I miss them a lot. I am trying to bring them to Ireland. I have applied for his visa. Let’s see what happens in the future.”