It was like a dream come true for Syed Talha, who saw one of his idols, Waqar Younis and players like Mohammad Sami, Shadab Khan and other international stars at the National Stadium Karachi, when he joined Islamabad United as ‘Sheru’ in the final of the PSL 2018. Talha grew up in the streets of Karachi fantasizing about becoming a cricketer and playing for Pakistan, but he did not turn out lucky enough.
Talha was a young talented batsman, who used to bat at the one down spot for Custom Cricket Academy. He used to train with all dedication and was one of the favourites of his coaches. In 2008, he had to surrender his dreams for the treatment of his mother, who was diagnosed with cancer and lost the battle of her life in September of the same year. His father exhausted all his financial resources, including their house, in his mother’s treatment, which forced him, the elder of the two siblings, to go out and earn from a young age. He was up for every nature of work, he worked as a sales agent, in textile factories and at other places for the next six years, before he became a freelance coordinator for providing logistics support to media.
The 27-year old was roped in by Islamabad United to become their mascot, Sheru, for the final of PSL 2018 in Karachi. “It was a lucrative offer for me, I had worked in different capacities, there is no work inferior for me, in fact working with a firm like Islamabad United was an honour,” he said. Sheru is a household name now, the character has a big fan following, courtesy of the way the franchise promote their mascot on the social media. However, there are very few people who know the person who wears the 10-kilogram costume to entertain the crowd, which is not an easy task. “I also want to get highlighted, I too have that urge to be known by people, but my role does not allow this and there is nothing dear to me than my duty,” he said. “Any role that Islamabad United gives me is special to me and I will perform it with all my heart.”
Talha has become fond of the franchise and the management, he wants to continue working with them, either as the mascot or in any other role. He hopes to work with the two-time PSL champions in the next season throughout the tournament as the mascot at least. The time he spends with Islamabad United’s cricketers is kind of fulfiling his dream.
The former club cricketer still plays cricket in the streets of Karachi, he believes in his abilities and aims to get back to training with the cricket ball. Talha still has a bleak hope about realizing his dream of becoming a cricketer. “I have lost the dream of becoming a cricketer, but if I ever get a chance to prove my abilities, I will give my best, even for a brief period of time, if I get a chance to live my dream of being a cricketer, I would love to live it,” he says.