Azeem Hafeez is a genuine hero for young Jeffrey Lee. When you’re eight years of age and kids at school think you have a ‘funny hand’, it’s great to suddenly become the class hero. And that’s exactly what happened to Jeffrey Lee, a student at Springwood State School, south of Brisbane, after his first television appearance recently. Jeffrey signed 26 autographs the following day at school, simply because his handicap was similar to that of Pakistan’s opening bowler, Azeem Hafeez.
Channel 9 in Brisbane arranged for Jeffrey to meet Azeem at the Gabba in Brisbane after the station’s sporting department learned the youngster idolized the Test man. The reason? They both had birth defects that affected one of their hands. Both have only two fingers on one hand; for Azeem, it’s his right hand, and for Jeffrey, it’s his left. But neither has let the handicap interfere with their lives. The year Azeem Hafeez toured Australia with Pakistan just happened to coincide with Jeffrey’s first season in cricket at school and his natural wider interest in the game. But he wasn’t the least bit surprised to learn that someone with a similar affliction to his could play Test cricket.
“It’s just like a normal hand to me,” the youngster said, as he beamed as bright as a button after visiting the Gabba and meeting many of the Test cricketers. But there will be only one hero for young Jeffrey, and he’s a Pakistani medium-pacer called Azeem.