Story/Interview September 2, 2022
Talented cricketer balances touring and learning with King’s InterHigh
At age five, Absar Rahman was playing cricket with children twice his age at the prestigious Moin Khan Academy. Since then, he’s swung the bat for a variety of youth cricket teams, including Ealing Borough and Middlesex County. In 2019, he took home the Batsman of the Year award with an unbeatable strike rate.
One day, we could all be watching him make record-breaking runs on TV. He and his mother, Asma, prove how joining King’s InterHigh makes it easy to balance cricket tours with studying, and gives them opportunities to spend more time together.
Absar began nurturing his cricketing talent at age three, when his father would take him to the park for an hour a day. Here, a passion would pass from parent to child.. They kept practising until he was five, when his father and mother decided to enrol him in the Moin Khan Academy in Karachi, Pakistan, named after the former cricket captain. The Academy were hesitant to accept him, considering anyone under the age of too young.
But Asma knew his practice would pay off. “I told the Academy, ‘Okay, that’s fine. But I want you to do one trial with him,’” she tells us. “And if you still think he needs to be seven, we’ll walk away.” They didn’t need to.
Absar would continue to prove himself. After his trial, he joined the under 10s team and played well with them. “That’s when I realised I had the talent to play cricket,” he says. “I’ve been going since then, and enjoying myself.”
In 2015, at age eight, Absar made it into Ealing Borough’s cricket team. He was selected again the next year, this time for their under 9s squad. In 2019, he became a representative for Middlesex County’s under 12s team, and took home the Batsman of the Year award.
With all these achievements, it’s understandably difficult for him and his mother to pick a favourite moment. So it’s no surprise they choose different highlights. Absar tells us how his current club got through to the under 15s Nationals Competition. “I was the Captain, and we won the trophy.”
What makes a good captain? He thinks not letting mistakes weigh you down, and enjoying yourself. “If someone does something wrong, don’t let them feel bad about it. Keep encouraging them. Keep them motivated, and have fun.”
And what does Asma believe his greatest achievement has been? “He got into the Emerging Players Programme,” she says. “Middlesex only choose two children who they see as having the most potential, and they have a special coaching session each Wednesday. I think it’s great that he’s gotten into that programme.”
A busy schedule
With cricket tours requiring travel, Absar needed to find a way to fit learning around this. In the winter, he’ll be jetting off during term time. He’s also studying for his GCSEs. That’s where King’s InterHigh can help. “With homeschooling, I can still attend lessons while I’m abroad.”
Although his previous schools have let him take time off to tour, Asma says catching up with missed lessons was challenging. She was concerned he’d fall behind academically.
She also noticed he was spending time with students who could be talkative and distracting. “I knew Absar was intelligent and capable, but I thought this could be trouble. And I couldn’t be there to help sort this out.”
Since joining King’s InterHigh, the young cricketeer has enjoyed having more control over his own schedule. “Sometimes the days finish early, sometimes they finish late. I can plan my free time more easily around days like this. I can go out, or stay in. Everything feels more relaxed at home.”
For Asma, it’s good to see what he’s studying. She also likes the fact she can be there to support him. “We can cover any work he misses, and access resources online,” she says.
They’ve been able to spend more time with each other, bonding over breakfast and lunch. For Asma, it’s lovely to have him around and learn what’s on his mind. “There was a time during exams where he was confused, and he’d come and speak to me about it. He would never tell me if he was confused about something before.”
Schooling with King’s InterHigh has also let Absar learn more about himself and how to make the most out of his studies. “I work better on my own. At school, when I’m with my friends, I tend to get a bit carried away hanging around in the corridors. Studying at home has helped me focus a lot.”
Making time for talent
A profession like Absar’s requires a lot of dedication to maintain. How does he balance this with his studies? He says good time management is important. He’ll set a timer for one or two hours, where he can focus on revising during the day. It helps him remember to dedicate time to studying. “If I don’t put on the timer, I might revise for half an hour and think that’s enough. The timer helps me stay focused for longer.”
Asma thinks parents with skills like Absar a should consider an online school education. “It’s the right approach for a child with a talent or passion that needs a lot of commitment,” she says. “You can catch up with lessons and missing one on the day won’t affect their studying. There’s plenty of follow up after lessons have taken place, and it’s easy to catch up.”
Absar has big plans for the next few years. “I want to get good GCSE and A Level results, go to a good university, and keep nurturing my talent and play professional cricket,” he says. “I want to get selected for the England under 19 squad in a few years, and then play for the international team.”
With King’s InterHigh, Absar can study without compromising his talent. He can catch up with any lessons he’s missed after training and matches, meeting both his academic and sporting goals.
Off the cricket pitch, he’s fascinated by English and science. He says English helps him to be creative and to organise his thoughts, and he enjoys writing short stories – something he’s been doing since he was four. “It feels good to clear my mind and read what I’ve written.”
“I like chemistry because I have fun with practical tasks. I like biology too, because it’s about the human body. You get to learn about yourself.”
Asma believes he can achieve great things. She and Absar’s father work all year round on country contracts, and their main focus is getting him into the Middlesex Academy. Once a child gets here, it opens a path towards the under 18 and under 19 teams. She’d also love to see him play at the Banbury Festival – something few young cricketers are chosen for.
One day, we could all see Absar’s talent from our living rooms. “We want to see him play cricket on screen,” says Asma. And with his track record, it’s not hard to think this will happen. “He’s under 15 and reaching over 1500 runs, which is something many 16 year olds can’t do. His coaches, other parents and players tell us he’s inspiring. And not just younger players, but the older ones, too. He’s got a very bright future ahead of him.”