Zeeshan Akbar was not there to bat on Wednesday afternoon but his friends still declared him “not out”.
In April last year 29-year-old Zeeshan was fatally stabbed while working the night shift at Queanbeyan’s Caltex service station on Bungendore Road.
On Anzac Day, just over one year since the tragedy, friends and family of Zeeshan gathered to play a memorial cricket match in his honour.
Zeeshan’s younger brother Faizan Akbar, 26, who is visiting from their home country of Pakistan, said the match was bittersweet.
“If Zeeshan was here the day would feel very good,” he said.
“But he’s not here with us anymore. I wish this game can continue every year in his memory.”
Zeeshan grew-up in Karachi, Pakistan, and migrated to Melbourne on a skilled visa in 2009 to become a mechanic.
He moved to Queanbeyan six years later, sending money home and nursing dreams of one day bringing his family to Australia.
“It’s a nice feeling to see the community gathered here,” brother Faizan said.
“They are showing their love for Zeeshan.”
The game was played in Nicholls between two teams representing Zeeshan’s friends from Pakistan and India.
Syed Jaffry, one of many who helped to organise the occasion, said it was a fitting and meaningful way to remember cricket-lover Zeeshan.
“It has been a long road since last year,” he said.
“We will try to continue this game for Zeeshan for as long as we are around.”
For next year’s game they would even try to fly Zeeshan’s parents over from Pakistan, Mr Jaffry said.
Last year Zeeshan’s father Mohammad journeyed from Pakistan to Queanbeyan to celebrate the life his son had built in Australia.
Along with Zeeshan’s uncle, they made a video chronicling all the people and places he had loved.
"He would stand with a cup of tea on his balcony and call us as the sun starts to set, so we recorded the view of the mountains from there," Zeeshan’s father Mohammad said through a translator during the visit.
"We recorded everything about where Zeeshan lived and met with the community."