MGM celebrate after winning the NAS cricket tournament on Wednesday night. Image Credit: Courtesy: Organiser

Dubai: They are a family of six — father, mother, two brothers and two sisters. The dad recently lost his job as a driver at the local supermarket in Deira, putting the responsibility of being the sole earner on the elder brother, also a driver by profession.

The two sisters help their mother in household chores, while Mohammad Hassan is understandably trying to finish his ongoing Grade XII exams from Shaikh Rashid Al Maktoum Pakistan School in Al Ghusais, while also — unknown to any of his immediate family — trying to map out a career in cricket.

Late on Wednesday, Hassan was at the final of the first Nad Al Sheba (NAS) cricket tournament turning out for champions MGM having informed his parents that he’s going to be studying with friends in preparation for his next paper on Friday.

Unknown to any of them, studies have been Hassan’s regular excuse of secretly playing cricket for various UAE clubs — with the sole and only hope that he will be able to earn a livelihood and take care of his family in the future.

None of my family even understands how much I love cricket. Studies are important no doubt, but for me, cricket comes above everything else.

- Mohammad Hassan, Best batsman, NAS cricket

“None of my family even understands how much I love playing cricket,” the 20-year-old Hassan told Gulf News with tears in his eyes after being named Best Batsman at the NAS Ramadan Sports Tournament.

“Studies are important no doubt, but for me, cricket comes above everything else,” he added. “My dad and my brother have known at times that I fib about studies and go play cricket. And for this, I have got a sound thrashing on many occasions. But that will never stop me from pursuing my true love for this game.”

Until last year, Hassan was a talented tape-ball cricketer. Then one of his friends convinced the youngster that he could be equally effective playing regular cricket. His experience stood tall and Hassan made his debut in season-ball cricket with 130 runs while ending up as the man of the series with more than 1,000 runs and 30 wickets at the recently concluded Dubai Super League (DSL) with the Salman Cool Boys.

And on Wednesday, Hassan was the pick of the players during the course of the NAS tournament held at the Wombats Cricket Ground in Jebel Ali as he received his best batsman award from Nabeel Qayed, HR Director of DP World. “This is for all the hard work that I’ve put in,” he said. “I know I must pay attention to my studies, but I feel I have a better hope in cricket.

“The plan will be to continue being consistent with the hope that I will be noticed by the UAE team selectors. My dream would be to perform for the national team here as I am born here and I can represent this country at the highest level. I will let the ball and bat do the talking for me.

“Until now, none of my family has seen the publicity I have been receiving, and for that I feel blessed and at the same time I am sad as those are most dear to me can’t be part of my happiness whenever I perform at tournaments. Maybe one fine day they will believe in what I can achieve.”