Discover the remarkable tale of Matiullah Khan, a journey that inspires and captivates. From driving heavy trucks to becoming a proud member of the UAE National Cricket Team, his story is nothing short of incredible. Follow his path as he breaks barriers and embraces his passion for cricket, proving that dreams do come true with dedication and hard work. Join us in celebrating Matiullah Khan’s inspiring journey, a true testament to the power of determination and perseverance.
Matiullah Khan’s Inspirational Journey
|Childhood Dream||Matiullah dreamt of being a cricketer from a young age.|
|Struggles and Challenges||Financial difficulties back home in Bannu, Pakistan.|
|Relocating to UAE||Moved to the UAE at 16 for better opportunities.|
|Balancing Work and Cricket||Worked driving heavy trucks while pursuing cricket.|
|Opportunity at Skyline University||Impressed former UAE cricketer Shahzad Altaf with bowling.|
|Talent Hunt Program||Caught the eye of UAE coach Aaqib Javed with his pace.|
|Job Loss and Return to Pakistan||Fired from job due to cricket pursuits but later returned.|
|Playing for Gas Company Team||Joined the company’s cricket team amidst job challenges.|
|ICC Academy Opportunity||Offered to bowl at UAE team camp by UAE coaches.|
|T20 Success in Abu Dhabi||Success in Abu Dhabi T10 and International League T20.|
|UAE National Team Selection||Chosen for the UAE team to play in the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier playoff against USA.|
|Cherishing His Debut||Received his first UAE cap and made his debut in international cricket.|
|Focused on Cricket||Fully dedicated to cricket as his full-time job.|
From his early days, Matiullah Khan aspired to become a cricketer and seized every opportunity that came his way as a young boy. However, life took an unexpected turn as he grew older. Pursuing his cricketing dream became challenging due to the financial struggles his family endured back in Bannu, a city near Pakistan’s border with Afghanistan.
“It’s tough when your family faces difficult times, especially when there’s no income,” shared Matiullah, now 30 years old, during an interview with Gulf News.
Seeking Better Opportunities: Matiullah Khan’s Journey
The challenges compelled 16-year-old Matiullah to seek better opportunities, leading him to the UAE with the assistance of his brother-in-law, who offered him a job. Adjusting to life in a new place wasn’t easy, as he struggled to find employment and lacked connections to pursue his cricketing passion. Nevertheless, Matiullah persisted, practicing cricket alone in his backyard, bowling against walls.
After a few initial years of hardship, Matiullah’s determination paid off when he obtained his driving license and secured a job with a transport company, driving heavy trucks. Despite the demanding commute from Fujairah to Al Ruwais, spanning seven to eight hours, he managed to find time to keep his love for cricket alive.
Advancement to Sales Section: Matiullah Khan’s Progress
Later on, Matiullah received a promotion to the sales section in his company, where he was assigned to drive smaller trucks mainly in Sharjah. During his free time, he would head to Skyline University, where he encountered Shahzad Altaf, a former UAE cricketer. Impressed by Matiullah’s bowling skills, Shahzad encouraged him to join regularly for practice.
However, Matiullah acknowledged that the company’s primary focus was on completing work tasks, and his monthly salary of Dh1,500 held significant importance for supporting his family back home. Despite his passion for cricket, he had to balance it with work commitments, even leaving midway during net practice sessions at Skyline whenever duty called.
In 2014, a turning point came for Matiullah when he attended a talent hunt program for bowlers. UAE coach Aaqib Javed was highly impressed by Matiullah’s pace, inviting him to practice regularly at the camp. This opportunity marked a significant step forward in his cricketing journey.
Coming Back Home: Matiullah Khan’s Journey to Pakistan
Facing an unexpected job loss, Matiullah found himself back in Pakistan. During this time, he utilized his free moments to participate in a few second division leagues, keeping his cricketing passion alive. However, luck was on his side, and he received an offer from a gas company, bringing him back to the UAE.
The job at the gas company demanded long hours and physical exertion, particularly with the added responsibility due to his sister’s husband’s passing. Nevertheless, the company had its own small cricket team, and Matiullah eagerly requested to join. While they allowed him to be part of the team, they emphasized the importance of not compromising on his work responsibilities.
Thrilled to return to cricket, Matiullah faced a challenging phase, managing early mornings and commuting between RAK and Dubai for training. Despite criticism from family and friends, who believed he should focus solely on work, his brother and sister stood by him, providing much-needed support and reassurance during this time.
Outstanding Achievements: Matiullah Khan’s Impressive Performances
During that period, while our team was at the ICC Academy for training, Matiullah received a remarkable opportunity. Javed, along with Mudassar Nazar, the UAE interim coach, was highly impressed with his bowling skills and invited him to join the UAE team camp regularly.
Matiullah’s breakthrough into the major league of cricket came when he received a call from New York Strikers to participate in the Abu Dhabi T10 tournament. This tournament proved to be a turning point in his career, as he made a strong impression. Subsequently, he was given the chance to play in the International League T20 with the Abu Dhabi Knight Riders team, where he once again showcased impressive performances.
Looking for Direction: Matiullah Khan’s Quest for Guidance
Having the privilege of sharing the dressing room with renowned stars like Andre Russell, Sunil Narine, and Ravi Rampaul, Matiullah forged strong friendships with them. These esteemed players have been a constant source of guidance whenever he seeks advice.
Early this year, Matiullah’s dream materialized when he was selected to represent the UAE team in the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier playoff against USA. This momentous occasion, receiving his first UAE cap, will forever hold a special place in his heart. As a fast bowler, he marked his debut match with an impressive wicket. Matiullah is now fully dedicated to cricket, considering it his full-time job, and is delighted with his current position in the reserve of the UAE national team, actively participating in the World Cup Qualifier in Zimbabwe.