LAHORE: When the Pakistan Super League franchise Multan Sultans picked Mohammad Waseem as their replacement player for the remaining matches of the PSL in Abu Dhabi, a storm of emotions hit the right-handed batsman. It was only natural for Waseem to experience the whole gamut of emotions because the year 2021 has been a beacon of hope for him — five years after he had first arrived in the UAE from Pakistan to look for a job. “I came here on a visit visa in 2016 and then returned to Pakistan. I came back next year, but playing cricket was not exactly my dream as I was looking for a job,” Waseem recalled. With a cricket resume that featured only district-level matches in native Pakistan, Waseem did hope to play some matches in local cricket in the UAE. “But that was about it. Getting into big time cricket was a dream I could not afford because my job as a sales executive demanded a lot from me. Still I managed to play some local UAE club matches in the night after long office hours in the day,” he said. Those local games in the night brought Waseem under the Abu Dhabi T10 spotlight and the aggressive batsman grabbed the opportunity with both hands after the Northern Warriors had signed him. Waseem ended up with 212 runs from nine matches at an amazing strike rate of 225.53, helping the Northern Warriors become the first team to win two T10 titles. And now the 27-year-old opener is on the verge of making his debut at the PSL 2021 where he would rub shoulders with marquee names like Babar Azam, Mohammad Hafeez, Martin Guptill, Rashid Khan, Andre Russell and Faf du Plessis. Wasim said he wanted to make the UAE proud after he was called into the Multan Sultans squad for the PSL. The competition was postponed midway through the season back in March as a result of an outbreak of COVID-19 cases. At short notice, plans have now been put in place to stage the remaining 20 matches at Zayed Cricket Stadium in the capital from June 5. “It’s a big moment in my life as a cricketer. I had never thought to be honest that I would get to play in premier events like the Abu Dhabi T10 and the PSL,” he said. “I enjoyed the T10 experience. It has helped my game by playing against some of the top international players. And joining the PSL is like dream come true. It feels like my home team as Multan is very near, maybe one hour, from my home town (Mian Channu).”I am feeling very confident, and, Inshallah, I will do my very best. I am looking forward to playing against bowlers like Mohammed Amir and Shaheen Afridi, and playing alongside our big star Shahid Afridi. There are so many great players there.” What also helped Waseem at the Abu Dhabi T10 was having Mohammad Azharuddin, the legendary Indian batsman, as the Northern Warriors mentor.