An­war Ali, from child labourer to star­dom


Pak­istan all-rounder An­war Ali, who once ironed socks for a liv­ing as a teenage fac­tory labourer, may have fi­nally found his feet in in­ter­na­tional cricket af­ter years of un­ful­filled prom­ise. Ali smashed a 17-ball 46 with four tow­er­ing sixes and three fours to help Pak­istan clinch a last-gasp over win in the sec­ond Twenty20 against Sri Lanka in Colombo in their re­cently con­cluded tour, prompt­ing fans to hail him as the sec­ond com­ing of tal­is­manic all-rounder Shahid Afridi. "I am thank­ful to Almighty who helped me reach this point," Ali, 27, told AFP.

"My life was once very tough as I used to work in a sock-mak­ing fac­tory but I clung to the dream of play­ing for Pak­istan." Ali mi­grated as a child from the small vil­lage of Zaka Khel in the mil­i­tancy-wracked Swat Val­ley that is also home to No­bel peace prize-win­ning ac­tivist Malala Yousafzai. His fam­ily was amongst those who left af­ter ex­trem­ists be­gan a cam­paign to rule the val­ley un­der their harsh in­ter­pre­ta­tion of Sharia law. The fam­ily made their base in a run­down in­dus­trial area of Karachi, where Ali, who lost his fa­ther when he was still young, be­gan work­ing as a child labourer for a mea­gre 150 ru­pees ($1.50 in cur­rent terms) per day.

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