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Trolled Azam Khan, a Pakistan wicketkeeper-batter, has revealed that he used the cruel nicknames and trolling he received about his physique as motivation to overcome the challenges he faced. Azam, the son of former Pakistan cricketer Moin Khan, wrote words like “aloo [potato], laddu [a sweet], haathi [Elephant], fatso, and big boy” on scraps of paper and posted them to his wall as a reminder to prove his critics wrong.
In an interview with ESPNcricinfo’s Cricket Monthly, trolled Azam Khan spoke about the harsh criticism he faced when he made his professional debut with Quetta Gladiators in the Pakistan Super League (PSL). He was accused of being selected for the team by his father, who serves as the head coach of the team. In the 2019 PSL season, Azam only appeared in one game, scoring 12 runs off 15 balls.
Trolled Azam Khan keeps spirits high despite harsh racism
However, Trolled Azam Khan used this criticism as motivation to improve himself. He spent the following year trying to conform to a sporting ideal. He spent time at the National High-Performance Centre in Lahore, working on an exercise and diet regimen and improving his aerobic capacity in the gym. In a year, Azam shed 30 kg.
His hard work paid off, as he was brilliant for Islamabad United in the PSL 2022, scoring 296 in 11 at a healthy strike rate of 141.62. Following his successful stint with the United in PSL 7, the wicketkeeper-batter was retained by the franchise in the Gold category ahead of the eighth edition of the tournament.
Despite his high regard and rise in the T20 leagues worldwide, Azam has not been able to make a name in international cricket. He has not been part of the national T20 side after playing three T20Is against England in 2021. He was initially selected for the Pakistani team for the 2021 T20 World Cup but was abruptly dropped in favor of Sarfaraz Ahmed due to “certain performance criteria,” though he doesn’t specify what they were.
Former Pakistan pacer Aaqib Javed harshly criticised Azam for his physique and told local media that Azam should either “leave cricket or turn himself into a cricketer.” However, Trolled Azam Khan believes that it’s not about being overweight, it’s about performance. He believes that if a player is scoring runs, then that should be the only criteria for selection, regardless of their physique.
In conclusion, Azam Khan’s story serves as an inspiration to those who face similar challenges and criticism. He used the trolling and cruel nicknames as motivation to improve himself and prove his critics wrong. His rise in the T20 leagues worldwide, despite not being able to make a name in international cricket, is a testament to his determination and hard work.