Pakistan’s first Sikh cricketer eyes national team debut
LAHORE: Mahinder Pal Singh is one of the few non-Muslim cricketers to feature in Pakistan’s domestic competitions, but now the right arm fast bowler is aiming to make a national team debut.
In March last year, Singh turned out for Candyland team in a Patrons Trophy Grade-2 tournament. Mahinder is said to be the first Sikh to play domestic cricket in Pakistan.
In an interview with BBC Urdu, Singh says he is proud to get access for practice at the Pakistan’s National Cricket Academy in Lahore. “I am the only club player or Grade II cricketer in history to practice at NCA. I can come to the Academy for training whenever I wish to and practice under the guidance of NCA coaches”.
He hails from Khyber Agency and was selected among the emerging players in 2016.
There are a few people who spread mischief…some don’t mingle and don’t share a meal or water…but majority of the people don’t do that, he told the interviewer.
“Nobody stops me from playing because I am a Sikh. In fact, nobody will stop me and I am confident about that.”
In his interview last year, Singh said his aim was to play first class cricket and in Pakistan Super League T20. “The PSL is such a big platform for youngsters and I hope to be among the emerging players list and get noticed,” he said.
He belongs to Nankana Sahib, the birthplace of the founder of Sikhism, Guru Nanak and some 100 kilometres west of Lahore. He first hit the headlines when he was picked as a promising medium pacer for an emerging players camp organised at the PCB High Performance centre in Multan in November 2016.
Mahinder is a student of pharmacy in Punjab University, but conceded that in the last few months he has given more time to cricket. His father, an ardent cricket lover and a fast bowler, migrated with his family from Mardan district to Nankana Sahib about 15 years ago.