Azad Kashmir Prime Minister Raja Farooq Haider has lauded the efforts of Lahore Qalandars in discovering young talent in the region – “an unprecedented initiative” that brought young pacer Salman Irshad to the forefront.
In a video message to Geo News on Saturday, AJK PM thanked Lahore Qalandars and Geo for working together to discover talent like Salman Irshad, who was named in the team for the third edition of Pakistan Super League (PSL) a day ago.
“I thank Lahore Qalandars, Rana Atif and Geo for [collaborating] together on the talent hunt program in Azad Kashmir that found Salman and motivated around 32,000 youngsters to turn up for the trials,” he said, adding that the "unprecedented" initiative put Muzaffarabad on the cricket map.
Raja Farooq Haider expressed optimism that more youth will take inspiration from Salman and get motivated to achieve their dreams.
“I am hopeful more youth will have their talent discovered, more youngsters from Kashmir will represent Pakistan in cricket, football, hockey, [other sports].”
The 22-year-old Salman from Rawalakot has been named in Lahore Qalandars squad for PSL 3
He caught the eye of Qalandars management during the Rising Stars trials in AJK with his consistent bowling at over 140kmph speed, and was picked for Lahore Qalandars’ Rising Stars squad that travelled to Australia for a quadrangular tournament, where his performance was so impressive that an Australian cricket club Hawksberry CC signed him for remainder of the season.
“I am so happy to be part of Lahore Qalandars squad for PSL 3,” Salman said in an exclusive video message sent to Geo.tv after his selection.
“I don’t have words to express how joyous I am today. This is the happiest day of my life,” he said in his emotional message.