Hassan Bukhari is young, talented and ambitious Cricket Player from Saudi Arabia. Hassan made it to the U19 National Cricket Team when he was just 16. Soon he recieved his National Cap and became the youngest Wicket Keeper to debut in the National Cricket Team of Saudi Arabia. Hassan an avid visionary, dreams of playing Professional Cricket in England. And he is working hard to achieve his dream. In the Interview, Hassan talks about his recent achievements and throws light on the challenges faced by the people in Saudi Arabia. Global Cricket Community would like to thank Dhahran Cricket Association for making Cricket a popular sport among the locals in Saudi Arabia.
1. Tell us about you?
Full Name: Hassan Bukhari
Date of Birth: 24/11/1992
Playing Role: Wicket-Keeper Batsman
Batting Style: Right-Handed Opening Batsman
Bowling Style: Right-Arm Off Break
Country: Saudi Arabia
2. At Present: Are you a Coach? A cricket player? A cricket related business? A club Owner? A cricket Fan? Mention your work profile (if anything else).
Presently, I am a semi-professional cricket player, grabbing every opportunity I get to go on the field, while pursuing an undergraduate degree, from a reputed business institute.
Fittingly enough, I am also operating a cricketing equipment business called Zed Sports.
Apart from playing, I simply cannot go a day without watching, analyzing and talking about any good cricket going on.
3. Are you playing cricket currently? If Yes - Since how long are you playing cricket? What level of cricket have you played so far in your country?
Right now, I reside in Karachi, Pakistan; where I am pursuing higher education, and playing for my university cricket team, as well as a couple of local cricket clubs. I have been playing cricket since I was 12, and have 10 years of experience under my belt.
In Saudi Arabia, we have 4 provincial organizations that run cricket in their respective provinces. The teams are grouped in divisions, with the ‘Premier’ division being the highest ranked.
I played in the Premier Division of the Eastern Province Cricket Association, and got selected for the Saudi Arabian National Under-19 Team at the age of 16… That same year, I debuted for the Saudi Arabian National Team as their youngest ever wicket keeper which is one of my most cherished moments.
4. Do you play for any club or a team? Mention their names? When was it founded? Where are you working currently?
As I mentioned, I currently play for my university cricket team (Institute of Business Administration) here in Karachi, as well as a couple of local clubs, but my cricketing roots go back to the ‘SST Cricket Club’ and the ‘Gyptech Dolphins Cricket Club,’ both based in Dammam, Saudi Arabia; and both compete in the top tier of the EPCA (Eastern Province Cricket Association) tournaments.
I have also been part of the Dhahran Cricket Association since its inception in 2003, and I feel that a great part of my confidence and ability, as a player, has developed while playing there.
Currently, I’m working part-time as a writer, and operating my own online cricket equipment purchasing business called Zed Sports.
5. Where do you and your team see yourself in coming 5 years? Where do you want to focus in order to improve your cricket?
From experience I can tell you that a lot can happen in 5 years; and in 5 years I would love to realize a vision that I have always had: That one day, I will be playing professional cricket in England. If that isn’t possible, I hope I’m able to remain closely associated with the sport, at any rate.
I consider myself an opening batsman, that’s the position I feel completely free in; I’m in my element. While playing for DCA and Gyptech Dolphins, I have always opened the innings, it has formed the basis of my batting style.
Here in Pakistan, I’m working on better adapting to the lower bounce which is characteristic of the pitches here, and to prove myself as a solid top order wicket-keeper batsman.
Though I have had my share of injuries behind the stumps, I still want to have a career with both bat and gloves.
6.Do your club/association have any website or facebook page? Mention their links.
1. Saudi Cricket Center :
2. Eastern Province Cricket Association:
3. Gyptech Dolphins Cricket Club:
4. Dhahran Cricket Association:
7. Any recent achievements/activities that you had. (It could be organizing a small camp, or just playing a match or organizing a cricket camp or playing a tournament series) Do mention the date.
Playing for my university team this year has kept me very busy; I took part in various tournaments, most recently an inter-city tournament hosted in Lahore.
The full list of my tournaments this year follows:
Eastern Province Cricket Association T20 Cup (Dammam,Saudi Arabia) (2014)
Bahria Cricket Tournament (Karachi, Pakistan) (2014)
Multinational Companies Cricket Tournament (Karachi, Pakistan) (2014)
IBA Sports League (Karachi, Pakistan) (2014)
LUMS Nationals Cricket Tournament (Lahore, Pakistan) (2014)
8. Would you like to come to India for a tournament or a coaching camp? Or do you want to travel any other country (if Yes, please mention the name)?
Playing in Saudi Arabia, I have had a lot of Indian team mates, and some of them were exceptionally talented. The cricketing structure in India has always intrigued me, intrigue that’s born out of observing the sheer talent and ability that young Indian batsmen are able to consistently display. I would definitely like to visit one day and see things for myself; there might be much to learn from.
My dream destination to play cricket in, however, has always been England. The history and cricketing culture that accompanies it, is almost sacred to me. It would be a true honor and a dream come true if I get to play professional cricket in England.
9. What are the challenges you are facing in your country's cricket? If any, how do you feel to overcome those challenges?
I think the number one challenge that we have is the lack of necessary coaching at grass root level throughout the country. The problem is that we do not have a set training and evaluation regimen in place and most of our players come to the forefront on sheer talent and their own determination to practice and hone their skills.
There is a lack of public practice facilities in our country and that makes the kids less interested in practising their game.
Furthermore, most of the cricket in Saudi Arabia takes place on hard, sanded grounds with cement pitches, so we tend to trust the bounce more than those who constantly play on turf wickets, and in major tournaments with varying turf pitches, it can prove a major hindrance.
But if we really want to churn out better players, we NEED to give them proper training at a young age. We need to drop the idea of being satisfied with playing a few games every week as a test of our ability as cricketers, and should be focusing on conducting intensive boot camps across the board to get our fitness levels and fielding performances up to the mark; the international standard.
10. One thing that you instantly need that would boost the involvement of people in your country's cricket?
I think there should be a lot of public cricket matches played between provinces. I say public because I fear the sport will remain restricted with the expat community and not trickle down to the local Saudis. It’s always a big occasion for the clubs and players when teams from other cities/associations come and play.
It also assists in laying down a transparent system of squad selection as deserving players can test their skills amongst the best in the country.
11. Name any 3 active Cricket Clubs from your locality, Country. Also mention the name and email id of these 3 clubs.
12. Would you like to nominate any club from your country for a free website from Global Cricket Community? If Yes, Why?
I would really love to nominate Dhahran Cricket Association here. Though they have a website of their own, I am confident they will extend their support in welcoming outsiders to play and experience what cricket is like in Saudi Arabia.
They have the best practice and match facilities in Saudi Arabia. They organize coaching camps for their players featuring prominent ex-cricketers, and host various top-tier tournaments that helps promote the game and give talented players an opportunity to step up into the spotlight.
Apart from cricket, the club also hosts recreational events and National Day celebration activities that merge the gap between playing and non-playing members.
The DCA is definitely doing its part in making cricket a popular sport among the locals. I’m proud to be part and product of such a club!