Muhammad Junaid Khan, widely known as Junaid Khan (Pashto/Urdu: جنید خان; born 24 December 1989, Swabi District) is a Pakistani international cricketer who bowls left arm fast. He is the first player from Swabi to qualify for the Pakistan national cricket team, and his cousin, the leg-spinner Yasir Shah, followed his path later on. After an injury to Sohail Tanvir on the eve of the 2011 World Cup, Khan was called up as his replacement, with no experience in international cricket. Khan did not play in the tournament, and later made his ODI debut in April 2011. In June that year Khan represented Lancashire County Cricket Club in English domestic cricket.
No cricket had came from Swabi before and Junaid Khan didn’t take interest in cricket initially, he played with tape-ball & was introduced to Hard ball setup by his cousin. At 16 years age Junaid Khan was measured as the fastest bowler in the NWFP Twenty/20 competition. Junaid Khan said, “Some of my team mates suggested that I should go for the Under 17 trials Abbottabad. I was in two minds but afterwards I was relieved that I attended the trials, as Ehteshamuddin spotted me and told me that I had potential and that I should go to Lahore”.
Early domestic career
Khan made his first-class debut on 24 January 2007 at the age of 17. Playing for Abbottabad against Multan, his first wicket was that of Majid Majeed. The match ended in a draw and Khan finished with four wickets for 57 runs (4/57). For four years he took wickets consistently for his domestic team Abottabad and he was the team’s chief strike bowler, he also played for Abbottabad Falcons in the Faysal Bank Twenty20. In the 2008/09 season, Khan represented the Khan Research Laboratories cricket team and played for them in the final of the 2008/09 Quaid-i-Azam Trophy; he took a single wicket in the match as his team lost to Sialkot. Khan also played for Pakistan A. In the unofficial Test series between Pakistan A and Sri Lanka A in 2010, Junaid was his team’s leading wicket-taker with ten from two matches. e
He became very popular during the India-Pakistan series 2013 as he was the highest wicket taker of the series.
Selection into the Pakistan team
Following the recurrence of a knee injury to Sohail Tanvir, the uncapped Khan was added in Pakistan’s squad for the 2011 World Cup. He did not play a single match in the tournament and was forced to wait for his ODI debut. When Pakistan toured the West Indies for two Tests, five ODIs, and a T20I in April and May Khan was included in the squad. On 21 April Khan made his T20I debut and went wicketless in the match. Two days later, Khan, Mohammad Salman, and Hammad Azam made their ODI debuts against West Indies. Opening the bowling with Wahab Riaz, Khan conceded 49 runs from 10 overs without taking a wicket. Pakistan won the series 3–2 and Khan finished with three wickets from five matches, making him the team’s fourth highest wicket-taker. His first ODI wicket was that of Marlon Samuels.
In May, Pakistan toured Ireland for a two-match ODI series. Junaid was Man of the Match in the first fixture, taking four wickets for twelve runs to help Pakistan to a seven-wicket victory. Pakistan won the series 2–0 and Junaid finished as the second-highest wicket-taker for the series with six at an average of 10.83. On the advice of former Pakistan and Lancashire all-rounder Wasim Akram, Lancashire signed Junaid Khan on “modest terms” according to coach Mike Watkinson to play for them in the Friends Life t20 in June with the possibility of playing in the County Championship. Problems with his visa meant Khan’s Lancashire debut was delayed and it was not until 27 June that he represented Lancashire for the first time in a twenty20 match. Later that month Khan made his County Championship debut against Durham, stepping in for the injured Farveez Maharoof, Lancashire’s other overseas player. While playing for Lancashire he took career best t20 bowling figures of 3/12 against the Derbyshire Falcons. During his spell with the club, Khan received advice from Akram on how to bowl in English conditions.
In August, Khan was awarded a category C central contract with the Pakistan Cricket Board; six players were in category A, eight in B, and nine (including Khan) in C. When Pakistan toured Zimbabwe in September for a Test three ODIs and two T20Is, the national selectors took the opportunity to give inexperienced players an opportunity. Frontline bowlers Wahab Riaz and Umar Gul were rested and Khan was chosen as part of the squad. Although Khan had helped Lancashire reach t20 finals days, international selection meant that Khan would be unavailable to take part and would miss the end of the season with the club. On 1 September Khan made his Test debut against Zimbabwe; Pakistan’s fast bowlers in the match were inexperienced, with just one Test cap between them. The coach, Waqar Younis, commented that though Khan had a successful spell with Lancashire he still had a lot to learn as a Test bowler. Khan’s sole wicket in the match, which Pakistan won, was that of batsman Craig Ervine caught and bowled.
The following month, Pakistan played Sri Lanka in three Test, five ODIs, and a T20I. On the opening day of the Test series, on a pitch suited to batting, Khan took his maiden five-wicket haul in Tests. Pakistan won the Test series 1–0, and Khan contributed 12 wickets to the victory. During the fifth ODI he suffered the first injury of his career: a partial tear of the muscles in his abdomen. As a result, he was unable to play for six weeks and missed Pakistan’s tour of Bangladesh in November and December. His match winning performance also came during a T20 match against England. Junaid Khan got selected for the ODI squad for Australia’s tour of Pakistan in UAE, August–September 2012, playing his first series against Australia. However he was excluded from the T20 side, hence being excluded from the T20 World Cup being held in Sri Lanka in September. This decision was criticised to be unjustified due to the selection of fast bowler Mohammad Sami and his recent performance against Sri Lanka.
In December 2012, Junaid Khan was again picked for the series against India and was given a chance in the ODI series and he performed superbly by picking up 4 wickets in the first match (clean bowled Sehwag, Kohli, Yuvraj) and helped in Pakistan win in first ODI and again performed superbly in the second ODI and picked up three wickets including two top order vital wickets of Gambhir and Kohli. So he has gained a place in Pakistan eleven and is considered to be one of the leading left arm fast bowlers of Pakistan who can bowl with pace, has the ability to bowl yorker and swings the bowl both ways. In November 2013, he successfully defend 9 runs in the final over in Port Elizabeth clinching Pakistan a 1 run win and Pakistan’s first bilateral ODI series win against the Proteas.