LAHORE    -     Entering the cricket fields as a 12-year-old, Saud Shakeel has made rapid progress and is presently leading Pakistan in the ongoing ACC Emerging Teams Asia Cup taking place in Bangladesh.

The 24-year-old left-handed batsman who can also bowl left-arm-spin represented Pakistan U19 in 2013 after a string of impressive performances in the national U19 circuit. Saud started his first-class career two years after playing U19 cricket. In 35 matches in the red-ball format, the southpaw has scored 2,099 runs at 43.72. His tally already includes six centuries and 12 half-centuries with his highest score being 121.

Saud’s List ‘A’ record is even more impressive. In 59 matches, in four of which he has scored centuries, Saud has accumulated 2,138 runs at 49.72. His left-arm spin bowling has earned him 16 and 23 wickets in his first-class and List ‘A’ career. Saud’s impressive returns in both formats earned him a place in the Pakistan ‘A’ team that toured England in 2016. The star-studded side included Fakhar Zaman, Mohammad Abbas, Hasan Ali, Shadab Khan, Aamer Yamin and Mohammad Nawaz. Saud played one four-day and four one-day matches that tour.

Ahead of the ACC Emerging Teams Asia Cup, Saud Shakeel said: “It is certainly an honour for me to be leading Pakistan and I look forward to the tournament.

Our side comprises quality players and strikes right balance in every department. We have all the ingredients to win the tournament. We aim to play aggressive cricket. “I have played under the coaching of Ijaz Ahmed (Pakistan head coach for the ACC Emerging Teams Asia Cup) in the past. He backs the players and allows them freedom to express themselves.

“I have grown up idolising Kumar Sangakkara and he is my favourite player. I have learnt a lot from Sindh captain Sarfaraz Ahmed and Asad Shafiq. They have been great mentors for me this season. “I look to build on my performances in domestic cricket and represent Pakistan in all three formats.”