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Seminarian from Karachi selected as wicketkeeper in Vatican team

July 18, 2014

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Brother Aamir Bhatti excited about being selected in the Vatican XI of Rome that tours England in September to play against the Archbishop of Canterbury’s XI.—Fahim Siddiqi / White Star
Brother Aamir Bhatti excited about being selected in the Vatican XI of Rome that tours England in September to play against the Archbishop of Canterbury’s XI.—Fahim Siddiqi / White Star

KARACHI: Aamir Bhatti, a young Pakistani seminarian hailing from Steel Town and preparing to become a Catholic priest in Rome for the past three years, has been selected in the Vatican cricket team.

The team comprises an international group of Catholic priests and seminaries in Rome and is made up of eight Indians, two Sri Lankans and one each from Pakistan, England and Ireland.

Mr Bhatti is in the Vatican on a scholarship. “Only a few students are lucky enough to be awarded a Vatican scholarship. From Pakistan it was me and Brother Joseph Saleem,” says Mr Bhatti.

Asked if the other seminarian also played cricket, Mr Bhatti said: “I think he is more into tennis.”

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Mr Bhatti says that cricket has been his hobby since he was a child. “In Pakistan everyone likes to play cricket. I am an all-rounder. I bowl right arm medium fast, but got selected as a wicketkeeper in the Vatican team,” he says.

“When the Vatican thought about forming a cricket team, it had to bring people from the church, of course, so they asked all the seminarians studying at the Vatican in Rome to try for the team. The selection committee comprised Father Tony, Father Eammon and Brother Joseph. Brother Joseph has been coach to Mohammad Azharuddin, Rahul Dravid and Lakshman.”

An old boy of the Shah Latif Boys School and College in Sindhi Muslim Society, Mr Bhatti understands Greek, Latin and Hebrew and speaks English, Urdu, French, Italian besides Punjabi, Seraiki, Sindhi and Pashto. He says he wanted to study medicine to become a doctor. “But none of that matters when you hear God calling out to you. I had just completed FSc when I decided to become a priest. A priest is a jack of all – doctor, nurse, mother, father, brother …”

Having studied at the Vatican for three years now and having completed theology, Mr Bhatti is specialising in missiology.

Published in Dawn, July 18th, 2014