KARACHI: Haider Ali is regarded as one of the brightest batting prospects when it comes to white-ball cricket. And already in the ongoing HBL Pakistan Super League 6 edition, the precocious right-hander has been a vital cog for Peshawar Zalmi.
The 20-year-old, born in Attock, has been instrumental in both victories when Peshawar were chasing targets of 190-plus here at the National Stadium. If his eight-ball cameo of 24 stunned Multan Sultans last Sunday, then the 29-ball 50 on Friday night ultimately served to leave Quetta Gladiators utterly shell-shocked as Peshawar got over the line by reaching 202-7 in 19.3 overs.
“It was not just me to take credit for Peshawar Zalmi’s second win. [Sherfane] Rutherford was brilliant in the death overs and there were Imam-ul-Haq and Shoaib [Malik] who also played superbly because the talk in our dugout was take the game as deep as possible without losing sight [of the target],” Haider, who was named man-of-the-match, observed during the post-match chat. “Overall, I’m pleased at the way my career is unfolding. Playing for Pakistan has been memorable but the expectations [of the fan] go high when you are playing at the international.”
Haider, who is the first Pakistani to start his Twenty International career with a 50-plus score (54 against England at Old Trafford last September), aims to improve his game further.
“This is the key word for success because then you can hope to be automatic selection at the top level since the fans expect more from you,” the soft-spoken Haider said. “I’m also extremely fortunate that I’m playing alongside Shoaib for Peshawar Zalmi. His huge playing experience and knowledge of the game are massive for me personally. He is always there to be the guidance force which is so critical for young players.
“His presence at the crease in comforting. The simple message from Shoaib when he came out to join me was ‘just play your natural game and don’t the scoreboard pressure create doubt in your mind’. And it worked wonders not only for me but for the team too.
“My aim is to be among the top five run-getters in this HBL PSL and also help Peshawar Zalmi keep the momentum going and winning two matches have been very, very satisfying,” Haider signed off.
Published in Dawn, February 28th, 2021