KARACHI: Recalled opening batsman Khurram Manzoor admitted being ‘speechless’ after he was named in the Pakistan squad for the next month’s ICC World Twenty20 in India despite never having represented the country in the shortest form of cricket.
The 29-year-old right-hander, who was unceremoniously discarded after playing the last of his 16 Tests during the tour of Sri Lanka in August 2014, told Dawn on Thursday that the frustration of not being picked for the inaugural edition of the ongoing Pakistan Super League (PSL) had been partially made up by his selection for both the T20 Asia Cup and World T20.
“The moment I came to know of my inclusion [in the Pakistan squad] for the two tournaments in the afternoon, I had no words to say. For a while, I became speechless and just kept staring at my wife who was sitting with me at the time,” Khurram revealed.
“I just couldn’t believe my fortune had changed at that particular juncture after the huge disappointment of being overlooked for the PSL. But now I have this over-the-moon sort of feeling.
“Perhaps, this [Pakistan selection] was destined for me. I thought for a while, that one shouldn’t never give up and keeping trying. Almighty Allah has been very, very kind to me in this regard since I always as hard as others to improve my game and better the skills.
“Nobody approached me to explain as to why I was overlooked the PSL. I was flabbergasted and felt deeply hurt by the treatment meted out to me.”
Khurram, who has appeared in just seven One-day Internationals since February 2008, believed that not playing in Twenty20 Internationals wouldn’t be a hurdle since he had been playing a lot of T20 games both at the regional and city levels.
“Honestly speaking I don’t think not playing at the international T20 level put me under some sort of pressure. After all, I had been playing T20 cricket for ages because this keeps me in shape and at the peak of fitness. Here in Karachi we usually play a lot of such matches especially during the holy month of Ramazan,” he stressed.
“As a professional, one is taught to adjust to any form of cricket you play. The question of getting nervous on the big occasion is something that happen to anyone but I always make a point to prepare accordingly and never let mental stress come into my mind.”
Khurram, who has made 1,834 runs at 29.11 with the helpof two centuries in 68 national T20 games with a strike rate of 116.14, termed the upcoming tournaments as big challenges for Pakistan.
“Our performance as a team has not been that great of late. But we have the potential and capability of winning on any given day and Insha’Allah all of us will be collectively trying to play the best we can to bring favourable results.”
Published in Dawn, February 11th, 2016