IT'S been a real rags-to-pitches story. Blacktown has a new sporting international, and for that it can thank the age of technology.
To be specific, video thrilled the cricket star.
Nazir Shinwari flies out this week to join the Afghanistan squad preparing for the under-19 World Cup in Brisbane next month.
The 18-year-old Blacktown cricket club fast bowler was picked on the strength of a video he sent to the Afghanistan selectors.
"Nazir heard Afghanistan were playing in the cup and arranged for us to take a video of him bowling and playing," said mentor Matt Mortimer, the Blacktown third-grade captain and a teacher at Plumpton High School.
"When they saw the video, they were on the phone straight away.
"Nazir's over the moon."
It's been quite a progression for the teenager who came over aged 10 and is now regarded as one of Blacktown's most promising youngsters.
"My parents are Afghani but we were in Pakistan and I only played cricket in the streets," said Nazir of his pre-Australian life.
Said Mortimer of the boy who settled in Rooty Hill and became a Plumpton pupil: "When he came over he didn't have a great grasp of the language but he was a hot shot at soccer as a youngster.
"Then he started playing cricket for Plumpton/Glendenning and that's where Blacktown picked him out.
"He's moved from sixth to third grade and has come on in leaps and bounds since being graded."
So much so Mortimer, who has played at a high level, doesn't fancy facing him in the nets any more.
"He's built in the mould of former Australian fast bowler Damian Fleming, has worked up to the low 130s (km/h), wobbles it around a bit and though he's not too concerned about technique, hits the ball a mile as a lower-order batsman."
Said the boy himself: "Three months ago I was 125 km/h.
"I'm confident I can get up to around 140km/h in four months."
He's also come on in leaps and bounds in picking up the local lingo, finishing his HSC last year and now doing a business studies course.
He's also become dinky-di. Who does he barrack for? "Australia." Who has he modelled himself on? "Glenn McGrath and Brett Lee."
And he's so fair dinkum about his cricket, he's given soccer the boot. "I don't want to get injured," he said.
Meanwhile, Blacktown hopes to come on in leaps and bounds after signing former NSW Scott Coyte as first grade captain.
Just 27, the all-rounder has captained Randwick Petersham to the last two Sydney premierships.
Tony Clark has stepped down as captain but will play one more season — his 27th straight in Sydney grade — and be bowling coach.