Aamir Sohail concerned about Naseem and Hasnain

KARACHI: The young pace duo of Mohammad Hasnain and Naseem Shah have made headlines in the recent past with a series of impressive spells but former Pakistan Aamir Sohail has raised fears about their progress.

In an interview with Pakpassion, Aamir stressed that both of them need to sort out their bowling actions. “I am worried about Naseem Shah as I have seen him struggling during the PSL and I will emphasise again, as I have done before, that he has a major problem with his bowling action which puts a lot of stress on his body, and this needs to be sorted out as soon as possible.

“Mohammad Hasnain is another bowler whose form is of concern to me. He has been part of the Pakistan side for almost a year now but the quality of his bowling instead of improving has gone downhill and to be honest, it’s a more of a case of getting from bad to worse. With both Hasnain and Naseem, it’s not about pace, but that they need to become well-rounded bowlers who are consistent in their performances. For me, both bowlers have some issues with their delivery strides and unless these problems are fixed, their progress will be hampered. It seems to me that we keep on glorifying the idea of bowling with pace and not enough emphasis is put on the basics of fast bowling, and to ensure that the action of our bowlers is stress-free. Let me remind everyone that we have seen many tear-away fast-bowlers come and go for half a decade, but not many have been able to achieve anything of significance apart from those who had the ability to bowl with control, whilst bowling only a few fast deliveries in an over,” said Aamir, who played for Pakistan for a decade.

Aamir said that Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) should have postponed the PSL much before the playoffs stage. “I understand that the PCB had to take many factors into account when deciding on whether to continue and complete the PSL tournament as scheduled. However, in my view, they should have stopped this tournament a week earlier than they eventually did. The reason for that is simply that one of the biggest reasons for the spread of the Coronavirus is via droplet transmission. As we know in cricket, players routinely put their saliva on the cricket ball to preserve the shine and that alone is a huge risk for all concerned as the ball is passed around fielders and bowlers alike. This is something the PCB should have considered and possibly taken the same decision they took later a little earlier. Instead of cutting down on play-offs . . ., they should have at that point stopped the tournament. From a cricketing point of view, by removing the playoffs, they took the fun part of the tournament out of the equation,” said Aamir, who led Pakistan sporadically from 1996 to 1998.

Aamir is of the view that Babar Azam should have been appointed as captain of Karachi Kings for PSL season V. “There was a lot of talk of how PSL could have been made more interesting with the use of new venues but we need to understand that we are limited by the choice of stadiums so we have to understandably confine ourselves to the four centres that were used in season 5 of the tournament. But to me, the real issue with this season’s PSL revolves around how the players who have recently featured in Pakistan’s T20I squad and are supposedly in line for selection for the upcoming T20 World Cup were used by the franchises. Take the example of Babar Azam who is Pakistan’s T20I captain but did not captain Karachi Kings. It’s incredible that this has happened as we all know that Babar needs all the experience he can get as captain of a T20 side.

“On top of that, our frontline wicket-keeper Mohammad Rizwan was side-lined for most of the tournament. We also have the example of Ahsan Ali who was picked for the Bangladesh series and then got just a few games for Quetta Gladiators which I find odd. My point is simply that Pakistan is finding it difficult to find batsmen who can challenge the best at the international level, yet, when we get a chance to try some out in the PSL against good quality bowling attacks, we don’t pick them or we side-line them.

“The PSL is not giving enough chances to Pakistani batsmen. In fact, most PSL sides during this tournament depended on their overseas quota to fill the top batting positions which was worrying. To me, the purpose of the PSL beyond all financial rewards is to deliver quality talent for Pakistan’s national team. We talk about the lack of good batsmen in the Pakistan side but then when we do get an opportunity like PSL, we fail to make use of it. The PSL was as an opportunity to use top performers from the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy and give them a chance to showcase their talent.

“To me it’s strange that we emphasise the importance of our first-class cricket yet when it comes to PSL, we are not giving a chance to our top performers to shine. To me, the PSL is a PCB tournament and it should be the Board’s responsibility to give chances to the best Pakistani batsmen to play in it,” said Aamir, who played 47 Tests and 156 ODIs for Pakistan.

He stressed that Haider Ali needed to work on his technique to become an asset for Pakistan cricket. “There is no doubt that Haider is very talented, but I feel that he needs to play more first-class cricket. He was fortunate to have been selected for the PSL where there may well have been better batsman than him in Pakistan’s domestic cricket. But now that he has had that chance, he needs to go back to the drawing board, work on the technical and attitude side of his game and if he can improve that further then he can become an asset for Pakistan cricket,” he added.

Aamir said that Sharjeel Khan must put away his ego and think about what the team needed. “Sharjeel had a good PSL tournament but if he is to be considered for the Pakistan T20 side, he will need to shed some weight. For those who are worried about Sharjeel’s return after his ban, let me remind them that if Mohammad Amir has been allowed back into the Pakistan side after what he did in 2010, then a similar opportunity must be given to Sharjeel as well. The fact is that you only allow someone like Sharjeel to make a comeback if you are considering him for a position in the Pakistan side so if he is performing well and takes care of his weight, then why should he not be considered for a place in the Pakistan side?

“In terms of his performance in PSL, I feel that he blew hot and cold and quite clearly, you cannot relate consistency with Sharjeel, and I suppose we have to accept that this is the way he plays his cricket. We have accepted such performances from other players in the past, so we can do the same for Sharjeel.

“What we do need to do is to tell Sharjeel what is expected of him which is not simply to try and hit every ball out of the park. He needs to put his ego away and think about what the team requires of him. If he can do all that then there is no issue in him being considered for recall to the Pakistan side,” he said.

Aamir remarked that Misbah-ul-Haq needs all the help he can to improve as a coach. “Let’s face it. Misbah-ul-Haq never had experience as a coach before he was given that position for Pakistan. He was given the position of Head Coach by Pakistan and it seemed to be a case of learning on the job as far as he was concerned. If he was now given a chance to work for Islamabad United, then that was good for his experience. To be honest, at this stage, even if he is given an opportunity to work to coach a school team, he should take it, as it will help him.”

About the Author