Captain Antum ready for Chevrons take off

Source: Captain Antum ready for Chevrons take off –Newsday Zimbabwe

YOUNG captain Antum Naqvi is ready for a good take off of his international cricket career with the Chevrons when they take on India for five T20I matches at Harare Sports Club starting on Saturday.

YOUNG captain Antum Naqvi is ready for a good take off of his international cricket career with the Chevrons when they take on India for five T20I matches at Harare Sports Club starting on Saturday.

Naqvi, a qualified pilot who has had experiences with charter planes, is hopeful to make his long-anticipated debut for the Zimbabwe senior men’s cricket team against the formidable team, India.

The Belgium-born who holds Australian citizenship was picked in the Chevrons squad after going through the necessary procedure to qualify to play for Zimbabwe.

The euphoria surrounding the all-rounder’s much-awaited debut for Zimbabwe is being felt far and wide, including in India, his maternal homeland Pakistan, his grandfather’s homeland, Belgium, where he was born, as well as Australia, his adopted home.

But, one man who is having goosebumps and raring to see the 25-year-old star player walk out to the field in the distinct red and yellow stripes is his coach and dad Zubair Amir Naqvi.

“My mother comes from Uttar Pradesh in India and my dad is from Pakistan. I grew up in Belgium, I did all my studies in Belgium and I speak French,” Zubair told NewsDay Sport.

“When Antum was four, I decided to go to Australia because I wanted to give the children a different lifestyle. Antum spent his life in Australia, he’s an Aussie boy and he’s got a Belgian passport.”

Zubair has imparted the expertise on his son, having coached him from childhood and exposed him to different cultures and conditions with many different mentors preparing him for the grand stage.

“Very excited, very thankful to the Zimbabwe Cricket [ZC] board and also to the fans because he’s got a lot of fans here and he wants to do well for Zimbabwe and that comes from his heart,” he said.

“Ever since he arrived here, he fell in love with the country and its people and he wants to come back and play. I’m very thankful that everyone that I have met was very nice, very supportive, they wanted Antum to play and Antum wanted to play.”

Antum comes from a highly educated family; his father is a pilot, his mother Rifat Qamar is a celebrated medical doctor in Australia, while his young brother Awad, a cricketer who plays first class cricket in Zimbabwe, is a second-year medical student in Australia.

Both Antum and his dad are not too worried if the former will play his first match for Zimbabwe this Saturday, but grateful that the process to make him a Chevron has been completed.

“I have been talking to the ZC board. They are dealing with it. It’s gone through the SRC [Sports and Recreation Commission]. They are okay with him, so I don’t know who needs to sign. I think it’s just a matter of getting the final signatures done because everyone has agreed, that’s all I know. So, I’m not even sure if he’s going to play this Saturday or not,” he added.

“That’s how Antum feels as well. He says ‘It’s not like I should have played this one’, but he says, ‘Things are happening. At the end of the day I would love to play and win a few games here in front of the home crowd’, because its an advantage playing in his home country and that is his home country. If he does gets a debut, I’m sure the confidence level will be high and that will give him a good start.”

Zimbabwe host India in five T20I matches on Saturday, Sunday and July 10, 13 and 14.

India touched down on Tuesday night and got their feel of the wicket at Harare Sports Club yesterday afternoon.

On the other hand, new Zimbabwe coach Justin Sammons took his charges through the paces at the start of the week together with his assistant Dion Ebrahim.

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