This article was only possible thanks to the expertise of former First-class leg spinner Mohammed Haroon, who provided the insights into becoming a professional cricketer from Pakistan.
It's difficult to become a professional cricketer in Pakistan.
With such a deep love for the game, everyone in the country seems to want to play at the highest level.
Competition is hot.
So how do you go about making it as a professional if you live in Pakistan?
The structure of cricket in Pakistan
To make it as a professional, you need to play First-class cricket.
Most professional teams in Pakistan represent Pakistan companies (such as Habib Bank and Pakistan International Airlines) are known as 'departmental teams'. They play in a first class competition called Patrons Trophy. These are split into two grades.
There are also several regional professional sides taking part in the Quaid-E-Azam Trophy, this is also split into two grades.
The teams play between September and April every year.
In order to gain selection for one of these sides you will need to show potential at a lower level. Mostly this is at regional and national Under 19, although older players can break through.
As school and University cricket is on the decline in the country, this means scoring runs or taking wickets in club cricket is the key for a youngster to get selected in regional side.
Club games are played with passion. The 'season' lasts 12 month a year, with teams playing several limited over matches a week. It's common to net every day.
Clubs are run by volunteers, often former players, who put in huge amounts of effort, time and sometimes money to keep the sides going with no financial support from the PCB. These men are the unsung heroes of Pakistan cricket, unearthing and nurturing talent through to the highest level on nothing but love for the game.
However, despite these heroic efforts, club cricket is not formally structured to lead in into the top level like it is in Australia. This means getting the attention you need to make it is difficult. Talent is often overlooked because players perform in local competitions but their success is not noticed outside the local club matches.
To avoid this, talented players need to make sure they are playing for the right clubs with the best connections to departmental or regional sides. One such club is Ludhiana Gymkhana in Lahore, who has a history of producing International players like Wasim Akram, Atta ur Rehman and Ijaz Ahmed.
Another club; Sheikhupura Gymkhana has produced players like Mohammad Asif, Rana Naveed, and Aqib Javed. In Karachi club like Malir Gymkhana has produced players like Rashid Latif and Younus Khan.
As there is little in the way of formal coaching, you may also want to consider the online coaching options at PitchVision Academy, giving you access to top level coaches and a better chance of making it.
An alternative to this method is to enrol in a private cricket academy such as Pakistan Custom’s Cricket Academy in Karachi. There are very few of these and are expensive to attend. However, the standard is high so if you can afford it, this is an excellent route to the top.
Players who are spotted at club level can move on to professional cricket.
Becoming an overseas professional
In England there are more professional opportunities, so many Pakistani cricketers want to come to the country during the English summer (May-September).
Getting a work permit is very difficult and at the very least you will need to have played five First-class matches in the recent past (18 months). If you do qualify there are many non-professional clubs in England looking for good overseas players. To find out who these clubs are and what they are offering, contact an agency. We recommend CricX.
Of course, you can't make it without a certain amount of talent and a lot of dedication to improving. Something you can read more about in the last section of this article.
Finally, you need a thick skin to deal with setbacks.
However, with the right attitude, enough practice, a slice of luck and a subscription to PitchVision Academy's newsletter you have a shot.
If you are serious about making it as a professional player you will need world class coaching. Coaching you can get online at PitchVision Academy. Click here to find out more.