He might have had heaps of chances to make a name later in his career, but there is one he shall never forget. A regional cricket official was visiting his village on an invitation from a local cricket club to attend the tournament’s final match as a chief guest. Shahnawaz, a teenager at the time with young, fresh blood pulsating in veins, with dreams bigger than mountains, knew it was time to let doubters shut and his performance to speak for himself.
And he ran hard and hard and bowled as faster as he could. In the end, his team triumphed, leaving the guest so impressed that he invited Shahnawaz Dahani to visit Larkana, a district headquarters, for regional U-19 trials.
Dahani’s father had no penchant for cricket. His abhorrence for the game was mounted to the extent that he prohibited television in the house because then his son would be glued to the TV all day watching cricket. He wanted Dahani to focus on academics and become a government official as he foresaw no future in professional sports for a lower-middle-class boy. The father’s apprehensions weren’t misplaced as it had been an unfortunate case for many cricket enthusiasts beyond the class divide in Pakistan.
However, Dahani is made of optimism. He eventually got a nod and prodding on the back from his father and went for trials, borrowing sports joggers, socks, and a kit from a friend as he had none of his own. And then, he never looked behind.
Now when you see him running around the ground ecstatically after taking a wicket, know that that jubilant celebration is not only well-earned, but also well-deserved.
He is known for many things – his beaming, adorable smile, humbleness – of which he has abundance, friendliness, confidence, varying celebration styles, and above all, his desi-style of thanking supporters in stands by hands gesture. Shahnawaz Dahani is yet to play on an international stage as a permanent member of the Pakistani cricket team, but he has already made a massive fanbase across the world with fiery bowling speed and that delightful smile.
Dahani has a knack for sometimes leaving batters clueless. He snatched 20 wickets in Pakistan’s mega domestic T20 tournament, Pakistan Super League’s sixth edition, and helped his side win the trophy. Though only nine wickets f
ell in his account in the last PSL edition, Dahani was one of the reasons Multan Sultans, his team, could enter the finals.
From working in the fields, raising crops, collecting Guava from fruit farms, feeding cattle, and performing various types of farm-related manual labor to dominating the international cricket landscape – Shahnawaz Dahani has had its share of ups and downs. Now he wants to fly high with the help of his dreams which are bigger than himself, and that’s what makes him the most dangerous weapon at the disposal of Pakistan cricket.