SHARJAH - Rumman Raees, the promising left-arm pacer who was selected into the Pakistan team for the ICC World Twenty20 Cup, began by playing tape-ball cricket. His best delivery. which is his disguised slow ball, has got him many wickets in domestic cricket - and that he mastered while playing tape-ball cricket.

“I used to play with tape ball in my younger days and that is where I developed that delivery. I developed that further with hard work and now I have mastered it,” said Raees, who feels that he has finally got the reward for his hard work in domestic cricket.

Idolising the legendary Wasim Akram, he had worked hard towards his goal of reaching the Pakistan team and when he found his name in the World Cup squad just before he was to play for Islamabad United against Lahore Qalandars, he was overjoyed. “I have been playing for the last six years and doing well at domestic level so it is a reward for my hard work. I have realised you can’t get anything without hard work,” said 24-year-old Raees, who has already bagged 116 first class wickets.

Raees was thrilled because he heard the news of his selection when he was with his idol Akram, who is the mentor of the Islamabad team. “Akram has been my idol from my younger days. In fact, I played cricket because of him.”

Raees is also indebted to another of Pakistan’s legendary pacers Waqar Younis, who is the coach of the Pakistan national team. Raees had attended the national team camp before the team’s New Zealand tour where Waqar helped him. “Waqar has been very helpful during the camp. He gave me a lot of tips during the camp. He told me about some of my shortcomings and I have tried to overcome those by working on it,” said Raees, who played club cricket for Pakistan Cricket Club (owned by Quetta franchise man Nadem Omar). “About five players from that club like Sarfraz Ahmad, Anwar Ali, Asad Shafiq are here playing in the PSL.

Raees would have toured New Zealand recently but for an injury. “I got injured and despite being in the camp was unable to go to New Zealand but I had given consistent performances and have been selected. It’s a great honour for me,” said Raees, who has been the most economical bowler in the PSL so far.

Raees is enjoying the PSL experience with Islamabad. “It is different from domestic cricket; the coaching I am getting here is world class with Akram giving me useful tips. Dean Jones (head coach) has supported me a lot,” he said.