Prolific Abid determined to excel on international stage

Published March 10, 2019
Abid Ali.— Photo courtesy of pakpassion.net
Abid Ali.— Photo courtesy of pakpassion.net

KARACHI: Abid Ali has termed his first selection in the Pakistan squad for the upcoming One-day International series against world champions Australia in the UAE as a dream come true.

The self-effacing Abid is a very determined character. Many had tipped him to make the Test tour of South Africa after his stellar performances against Australia, New Zealand ‘A’ and England Lions in the UAE where he amassed 519 runs in four first-class fixtures at 74.14 correlated his good form in country’s premier tournament.

“Obviously it [selection] came a pleasant surprise because I was least expecting after being not considered for the South Africa tour,” Abid said from Lahore late on Friday night. “But definitely Allah Almighty is very, very kind to me because I had been among the top performers over last several seasons. Now my intentions are clear to prove myself on the international stage if the opportunities come my way.”

The 31-year-old right-handed top-order batsman is one of cricket’s journeymen who had been a consistent performer in first-class and one-day formats. One of the real success stories of the 2018-19 season, Abid’s 134 from 315 deliveries in just over 450 minutes of crease occupation inspired Habib Bank Limited (HBL) to become the Quaid-i-Azam Trophy champions last December in the drawn final against SNGPL at the UBL Sports Complex.

Former Pakistan paceman Saleem Jaffer, who guided HBL to two trophies last season including the One-day Cup title in his first season as their head, expressed his delight on Abid’s selection in the national team.

While speaking to Dawn from Dallas in Texas, Saleem described Abid as a very hardworking cricketer from humble background.

“I had the pleasure of spending fair degree of time with Abid during my association with the HBL squad. I found him a thorough team man who is always willing to improve his [cricketing] skills,” Saleem observed on Saturday. “Generally he is’ a quiet individual. The best thing about Abid is that he is very committed as a player and always meets the targets assigned to him, particularly at the training sessions where he is happily willing to put in extra hours than some of the others to improve his fitness.

“Abid is uncomplicated sort of batsman who plays within his limits. His game-plan is simple. A strong cutter and puller, Abid would have been an asset had he made the South Africa because I have seen him grow as a batsman on the domestic in the last few seasons,” Saleem added.

“And although he is 31, I still believe Abid should be given the chance in Test cricket because that is the format in which he can be more successful.”

Abid, meanwhile, offered his gratitude to Saleem whose words of encouragement spurred him on throughout the season.

“I definitely owe Saleem a huge debt for being a huge source of inspiration not just for me but every single individual in the HBL squad where we’re treated like family members and the camaraderie within the setup was phenomenal. That’s why we were able to win two titles despite being depleted at times due to Pakistan team commitments in a busy season. The likes of Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Faheem Ashraf etc hardly played for the department but we never gave up and kept playing as a cohesive unit and the results are there for all to see.”

Published in Dawn, March 10th, 2019

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