Anwar Ali’s father died in his early age. Being the sole earner of family, he was forced to work in a factory at 200/day wage. Little Anwar thought cricket as his life. He spent his spare time playing tape-ball cricket in the streets of Orangi Town, Karachi and remaining in touch with the love of his life.
“I used to get Rs. 200 per day and that wasn’t enough for our family,” said Anwar in an interview. “At times, my mother couldn’t even spare Rs50 for me given the tight budget she ran the house on.”
Anwar’s lucky break came when he was drafted into Zone VI’s under-19 side after impressing the selectors with the six deliveries he bowled at the trials. “They asked me to come for regular practice but, given the situation at home, I had to do double shifts at times. On hearing this, the coaches Azam Khan and Zafar Ahmed agreed to hand me a contract worth Rs 4,600 per month. From that day, I never looked back.”
Anwar Ali was taken to National Cricket Academy, Lahore for further trials. Sadly, he couldn’t afford a proper pair of cricket shoes and played mostly with ‘joggers’ and ‘chappal’. Aaqib Javed then gave him a pair a shoes that he used for the season.
Within 15 months, consistent performances at zonal and regional levels earned him a call to the national U19 squad and went to the World Cup in Sri Lanka. He proved his selection by taking 5/34 against New Zealand U19s but his best was yet to come.
After the world cup, he joined Pakistan International Airlines as a cricketer, replacing his idol, Umar Gul.
On August 1, 2015, Anwar Ali came at no. 9 to smash 46 runs in just 17 balls to give Pakistan an unexpected T20 series win over Sri Lanka. His were the highest runs scored by any batsman batting at no. 9 in international T20s.