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I have a surprise up my sleeve for the opponents: Hasnain

Updated April 24, 2019

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akistan’s newest pace sensation — Mohammad Hasnain — has promised to spring a few surprises on the opponents in the upcoming World Cup in England and Wales and has done plenty of work on his bowling action as well as variety for the mega event. — PSL/File
akistan’s newest pace sensation — Mohammad Hasnain — has promised to spring a few surprises on the opponents in the upcoming World Cup in England and Wales and has done plenty of work on his bowling action as well as variety for the mega event. — PSL/File

HYDERABAD: Pakistan’s newest pace sensation — Mohammad Hasnain — has promised to spring a few surprises on the opponents in the upcoming World Cup in England and Wales and has done plenty of work on his bowling action as well as variety for the mega event.

“I have a surprise up my sleeve for the World Cup,” the Hyderabad born Hasnain told Dawn over the phone from Lahore prior to the team’s departure for England on Tuesday night. “I have done a lot of work on my bowling, thanks to my coaches at the NCA,” he said.

Hasnain made his international debut in Sharjah against Australia on March 24 this year and booked his place in the national team for the mega event due to his searing pace and hardwork.

Earlier, he made history by becoming the first cricketer from Hyderabad to have ever been selected in squad for World Cup, mainly due to his impressive show in the Pakistan Super League games where he scaled 151kph with regular frequency.

What is really heartening is the fact that Hasnain, who comes from a humble family background, is not taking any extra pressure of the World Cup and is going with a positive frame of mind, aiming to perform to his full potential. “The only change I feel is that from playing club cricket in Hyderabad, Alhamdolillah I am now playing international level cricket. But, honestly speaking, I don’t feel any pressure or nervousness about it,” he said.

“I did feel pressure in the first over that I bowled in the PSL, but since then have been bowling comfortably,” said Hasnain who is seen as Pakistan’s future pace asset.

In his first over against Australian openers in Sharjah, he bowled a ferocious bouncer to make Usman Khawaja duck and then hit Aaron Finch’s helmet in the very next over. “I am not overawed by the opposition. I told myself if they [Aussies] are there to bat, I am here to bowl,” said the youngster.

He added that though he is very passionate about his bowling, he doesn’t believe in making odd gestures to batsmen to show his aggression. “Umpires always tell us to avoid such things in the field and I believe in it personally as well. The aggression that is hallmark of any fast bowler is there in me too but I donot believe in negative tactics,” he said.

Hasnain admitted that he has improved quite a lot since the PSL and has learned from watching other bowlers. Regarding his bowling action which appeared somewhat laborious, Hasnain claimed he didn’t have the time to work on it in the PSL but since then he has worked on it with full focus.

He disclosed that he has done a lot of work to add flow and variety to his bowling instead of capitalising on raw pace alone. “I’ve worked with coaches and have noted difference in my bowling and sincerely hope I will perform better in England,” he remarked.

Hasnain has been regularly working with bowling coach Azhar Mahmood has made efforts to develop his pace, rhythm and slower deliveries. Hasnain made his first- class debut from PTV in September 2018 but missed Pakistan Super League’s 2018 edition due to injury.

However, God had success in store for him and he went on to become the star of Quetta Gladiators in the PSL 4 by bagging the man of the match award after claiming 3-30 against Peshawar Zalmi in the final.

Needless to say, his family members, fans and cricket organisers in Hyderabad are euphoric about his selection and his international debut. Regional Cricket Association president Mir Suleman Talpur and District Cricket Association (DCA) Hyderabad president Shakil Qureshi have also wished him good luck in the upcoming series and the World Cup. He has played for Talpur’s cricket club in the city.

The teenager said he has not had a chance to meet Pakistan’s legendary fast bowlers Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis barring a one-off brief interaction with the latter in PSL, but hoped that the greats would pass on some useful tips to him. “Waqar Bhai is also my ideal in bowling”, he said.

Hasnain — who was termed as the fastest teenager by Shane Watson — realises that fitness is crucial for him to maintain his pace. He said he could not take many wickets against Aussies due to slow tracks in the UAE but will try his best to excel in England.

Published in Dawn, April 24th, 2019