Sunday, May 31, 2009

Getting to know the Pak Rookies

Pakistan's squad for the ICC World Twenty20 includes 3 guys who are yet to turn 20. Pakistan is known for throwing the kids at the deep end and they've done no different this time as well.

Here's a look at who these boys are and what they've done to deserve their chance to play for Pakistan.

Ahmed Shehzad
(Right hand opening batsman, Age: 17)

Ahmed made heads turn in his debut season for the Pakistan Under-19s, when as a 15 year old opener he smashed century after century in youth tests and ODIs against England, Australia, and Bangladesh.

He had already made his first class debut for Lahore before he played for the u-19 team.

Ahmed had a couple of good domestic seasons for Lahore and Habib Bank, before his century in a tour game against the visiting Sri Lankans got him the nod from the selectors for Pakistan's test squad.

He didn't play against the Lankans, but he made his Pakistan debut in the UAE in the 2nd ODI against Australia.

If it wasn't for Nasir Jamshed's groin injury, Ahmed would not have had an opportunity, but he grabbed it with both hands when he got it and impressed with a couple of 40s.

He's technically correct and has an aggressive streak in him, but he's more in the Aamir Sohail mould than the Saeed Anwar one. I reckon he's a better bet for test matches, maybe even in ODIs, but not for T20s.

Shahzaib Hasan
(Right hand opening batsman, Age: 19)

Shahzaib is a rookie in the true sense of the word. He made his first class debut 5 months ago, while he played his first ever T20 match 7 months ago.

Since then he has played another 3 T20 matches and has a total of 138 runs in 4 innings at a healthy average of 34.50. He scored a 48 ball 56 in his last T20 innings for the Karachi Zebras in the recently concluded RBS 20-20 Cup.

Not many in Pakistan had heard about this Karachi boy, but Younis Khan was impressed by his strokeplay that he displayed, first in his maiden first class ton, and then in his maiden List A 100 earlier this year.

Shahzaib's inclusion in the world t20 squad was at Younis Khan's insistence and Younis has claimed that he has the ability to take apart any attack in the world.

That is some confidence that the Pakistan skipper has in this boy.

The boy himself doesn't know if he will get his chance, but if he does, he says he will be looking to emulate his hero - Virender Sehwag!

Mohammad Aamer
(Left arm pace bowler, Age: 17)

Aamer was first heard of in Pakistan during the summer of 2007, after a fast bowler's training camp, which was held in Lahore and overseen by Wasim Akram.

On the conclusion of the camp, Wasim Akram spoke highly of Mohammad Aamer and told Pakistan and the world that a 15 year old left arm pacer was one for the future for Pakistan.

Aamer did not make his first class and twenty20 debut till a year and a half later, but since then he has not looked back. His figures make for an impressive reading:

First Class: 10 matches, 56 wickets at 15.26, SR 29.3
List A: 15 matches, 25 wickets at 23.52, Econ 4.18, SR 33.7
T20: 5 matches, 8 wickets at 16.12, Econ 6.5

Aamer has impressed one and all with his pace and swing and word is that Pakistan is confident that he will trouble most of the batsmen in English conditions.

Out of all the rookies, Aamer is the most promising one who also seems to be the answer to Pakistan's fast bowling resources, which many claim are drying up.

Pakistan has gambled with 3 very inexperienced but talented boys for a world cup; we'll just have to wait and see if they can repay that faith in them.

Shahzaib Hasan Pic Courtesy PCB (c)

Make your pitch on this post...

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14 Pitched:

  1. Tifosi Guy said...


    Is Shazaib really only 19 ??? It also beggars belief for me that Rohit Sharma is ' only' 23 and that Yusuf Pathan is ' only' 26..

    btw how old is Mr Afridi? He always seems to be in his early 20's :)

    Either these guys have matured way beyond their age or my eyes are semi blind !

  2. khansahab said...


    You said Younis is thinking of using Shahzaib as opener but yesterday it came in the news that they want to use Akmal as opener.

    So if Shahzaib is being used as opener it means both Butt and Shahzad will have to sit out which can't happen. Unless they bat at no 3 or so.

    I don't think they can drop Butt because he is a senior player and former vice captain. Can they?

  3. rohit said...

    Rookie opener Shahzaib Hasan, who was a surprise inclusion in Pakistan’s squad for the Twenty20 World Championships, says he wants to emulate his explosive Indian counterpart Virender Sehwag in England. The 19-year-old was included in the Pakistan squad and has been backed by skipper Younis Khan to do well in the tournament.

  4. Q said...

    TG: who knows.. thats the official ages they've got.. :-)

    As for Afridi, he's 29 these days.. haha.. born in 1980.. figure that one ..

    Most of the guys born in rural areas dont really have birth certificates and they can easily shed a couple of years atleast..

  5. Q said...

    Khansahab: Initially I heard that Younis wanted to open with Shahzaib, then I read abt them wanting to use Akmal as opener, so Im not sure which way they're going to go.

    Ur right, i dont think they r going to drop Salman Butt.. so it cud be Butt and Akmal, which will finally bring Fawad Alam into the XI.. or it cud be Butt and Shahzaib with Akmal at 1 down..

    Tomorrow's warm up will give us a better idea..

  6. Q said...

    Rohit: welcome to Well Pitched.

    Yes he has said he wants to emulate Sehwag.. lets c what he can do..

  7. Stani Army said...

    Nice run down Q. Thanks for that.

    Tifosi, you want passport age or real age?

    Khansahab!!! please don't take us back to those days when you was only picked on seniorty....or whether you knew so an so's dad's uncle's dog. I wouldn't have Butt in my t20 side to be honest.

  8. Q said...

    Cheers Stani.

    Unfortunately Khansahab is right.. these things do still happen.

    Younis Khan himself said that he won't drop senior players.. lets c though.

    Even I wouldn't have Butt in my T20 team.

  9. Tifosi Guy said...

    Stani mate

    Just their real age :) This thing with Indian/Pakistani players is not good ! There is obviously something wrong here !

  10. Stani Army said...

    You are right Tif! With Younis Khan running around tapping backsides at fall of wickets etc, we don't want anyone being under age do we?

    Who's the bum tapper in the Indian side?

    Who do you support Tif? (I don't mean as in cricket)

    *please note, bum tapping on the sports field was invented by Younis Khan. One had hoped that captaincy would cause him to give this up but it seems to have had the opposite effect. Power really does corrupt.

  11. snikometer said...

    Ahmad Shehzad is right handed, no?

  12. Q said...

    Stani: I thought Graeme Smith was the inventor of "bum tapping".. refer to video over at Amy's..

  13. Q said...

    Snicko: yes he is.. my bad, apologies. Have corrected that.

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