The Sunday Mail
ALI-AKBAR KHAN HAMID is one of those cricketers who are hard to put in a box.
A clean hitter of the ball, the Takashinga Patriots II batter is every coach’s dream.
He is comfortable batting anywhere between the top and middle order.
In fact, by his own admission, Hamid is comfortable batting in the top order in limited-overs cricket.
But he prefers the middle order in the longer version of the game.
Together with Spencer Magodo and Tinashe Chiorah, the 23-year-old is one of three figures currently making waves in local cricket.
Some have even predicted the trio could form the core of the Chevrons team once Sikandar Raza, skipper Craig Ervine and Sean Williams — who are all approaching the twilight of their international careers — leave the stage.
However, what sets Hamid apart from his peers is the constant comparisons to talisman Raza. While he does idolise the Zimbabwe all-rounder, he chooses to ignore the hype.
“Sikandar (Raza) is like an elder brother to me, but I would like to build my own name and achieve my own goals.
“He (Raza) is definitely an inspiration to me, though,” he said.
Sikandar and Hamid are both of Pakistani descent.
However, unlike Raza, Ali-Akbar comes from a strong cricket family.
His father, Abid, is a former manager of Zimbabwe A and liaison officer for visiting Asian teams.
“I started cricket at a very young age, as I was brought up in a household where my father, Abid Hamid, was involved with Zimbabwe cricket and Old Hararians Club, and my brother, Saad Khan, is a cricketer,” he said.
“My father had a couple of roles in Zimbabwe cricket, with some of the notable ones being manager for Zimbabwe A side and liaison officer for a number of overseas teams that came to Zimbabwe.
“Most of these teams were from Asia.
“I would like to say my inspiration for the game was my brother (Saad Khan). Seeing him dominate the local game, scoring hundreds every other weekend, gave me inspiration to play and dream of representing Zimbabwe one day.” That was years ago.
The Takashinga Patriots II player is now in his third year in the National Premier League, the country’s top club competition.
The 2023 edition could very well end up being his breakthrough season.
He is presently part of the leading pack of top batters with 355 runs from eight innings.
His rates average and strike rates stand at 71.0 and 78.0, respectively.
“This NPL, so far, has been a good journey as we approach the halfway mark.
“It has been good so far. All praise to Allah for giving me this opportunity to score some runs in the National Premier League.
“I have enjoyed my time with Takashinga,” he said.
Hamid dreams of one day playing for the Chevrons.
He has vowed to put in the work and often seeks advice from the likes of Raza, Faraz Akram and Elton Chigumbura.
“As an upcoming cricketer, I look forward to just keep getting better every day; controlling what I can by working hard on my game.
“Chigumbura is one of my mentors, who always pushes me to get better, while Akram helps me out with the mental aspect of the game.
“They always give me advice, like elder brothers, and are usually a call away when I need help.
“Like I said, Raza has been an inspiration to me. “The way he has worked hard for all his achievements, talking to him is a privilege that I have, and I try to listen to him carefully.”