Shahnawaz Dhani hails from Larkana and quickly came to prominence after bowling at a searing pace in the Karachi-leg of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) sixth edition. It's been a fairy-tale story for Dhani who started off his career with tape ball and used to play tape ball matches against his neighbouring villages teams in local tournaments. PSL stint proved to be a tipping point for the promising cricketer who was fast-tracked into the national team set-up after showing his talent in the first half of the PSL.
"Our village is near Larkana, in our village, there is not much sense about how to play hardball cricket. Basically, with my friend and cousins, we formed a team 'Dhani' and we used to organise matches with other villages teams. In tape ball cricket, I helped my team win many matches. Then when I moved to the city, we won quite a few matches in the city as well but the turning point was when we played against first-class cricketers and some of them encouraged me to move towards hardball," said Dhani in an interview with Cricwick.
Dhani was reluctant to leave his friends, cousins and his beloved team for professional cricket. It was quite a dilemma for the rookie paceman.
"It sounded a bit weird to me because I thought I might have to leave my friends from the village so I was not ready for it. But my friends and cousins made me understand that if others are noticing my talent then I must respond to them and said we are all together and whenever we organise a match, we will call you and not leave you. So I agreed with them and then I entered first-class cricket. I joined Shahbaz Cricket Club in Larkana. There were five to six players from that club who had played first-class cricket from the Larkana region. I learned a lot at the club and I worked on my speed and learned the game a lot.
It's Dhani's dream to outfox Pakistan all-format captain and No.1 ODI ranked batsman Babar Azam. Moreover, the 22-year-old speedster aims to share the new ball with Shaheen Afridi for Pakistan.
"I would like to get Babar Azam out, that would be my dream wicket I haven't bowled him out yet. I would like to bowl in partnership with Shaheen Afridi for Pakistan.
"All players of Pakistan want to serve their country and when my name was announced in the Test team, it was a huge achievement, my parents, club cricket colleagues and coaches felicitated me. I got immense support from players, management staff and coaches in the Pakistan dressing room and I learned how things operate in international cricket.
Dhani idolizes Shane Bond and Jofra Archer. He wants to crank up the pace like these terrific quicks and his ultimate goal is to help Pakistan win a World Cup.
"I used to follow Shane Bond, he was quick, I liked his action and followed him. When he retired from international cricket, then I started watching England's Jofra Archer and I want to become a fast bowler like him. My ultimate aim is to play the world cup for Pakistan and win the world cup," said Dhani.