Teenage fast bowler Mohammad Hasnain’s meteoric rise continued as he earned his Pakistan cap during the second ODI against Australia in Sharjah on Sunday.
After impressing for Quetta Gladiators in the recently concluded Pakistan Super League, Hasnain looked destined for greater things and an international call-up was the next logical step.
The raw pace of Hasnain had impressed many during the PSL and he was quickly rewarded with a call-up to the national side for the ODI series against Australia.
The 18-year-old got his big break on Sunday, making his debut in the second game in Sharjah. However, that’s where the good news ended for Hasnain as it turned out to be an utterly forgettable day for Pakistan bowlers with Australia captain Aaron smashing an unbeaten 153 to steer a comfortable chase of 285 with eight wickets in hand.
Here we take a close look at Hasnain’s ODI debut.
Pakistan had runs on board. But in a strategic error, captain Shoaib Malik introduced the raw quick only after 10 overs, by which time Australia were already 48-0. Hasnain had captain Finch in all sorts of trouble, peppering him with the short ball on a slow surface. Had he bowled with the new ball, Hasnain might have dismissed Finch. Instead, Aussie openers Finch and Usman Khawaja raced to a double century stand.
Hasnain’s bouncers were spot on. He hit Finch on the badge the second ball of the 13th over and generally had the opener in a tangle while handling the short stuff. He nudged close to 150kph and showed decent control with the ball as well. He beat Finch outside off stumps towards the end of the innings even after the batsman had crossed three figures.
Khawaja’s conversion to white ball cricket on display. It seems Australia will overhaul the target with plenty to spare. Hasnain despite all his talent I believe is fragile. His action will need expert modifications to avoid injuries without compromising his speed. @iRashidLatif— Dr. Nauman Niaz (@DrNaumanNiaz) March 24, 2019
Hasnain has pace, there is no doubt about that. But in international cricket, you need a bit more than that as a bowler. The young quick needs to learn more about the art of taking wickets. However, the slow surface in Sharjah did Hasnain no favours. Hopefully, there will be more wickets to show for his efforts in his next game.
Pakistan‘s legendary bowlers Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis received the country’s second-highest civilian award – the Hilal-e-Imtiaz – on Saturday.
The Pakistan government conferred the award on the occasion of Pakistan Day. Leg-spinner Yasir Shah also received the Sitara-e-Imtiaz, Pakistan’s third-highest civilian award.
Shah took to Twitter to thank the government for giving him the award.
“Pakistan, thanks again for the honor of Sitar-e-Imtiaz. I am deeply humbled,” he tweeted.
Mere watan— Yasir Shah (@Shah64Y) March 23, 2019
Or pyar tujh pe nisaaar ker don!
On #PakistanDay let's revive our pledge to serve this beautiful country of ours with all our might, grit & determination.
Pakistan, thanks again for the honor of #SitareImtiaz. I am deeply humbled. #PakistanZindaabad pic.twitter.com/XfeZ0lLTjZ
Upon the announcement of the decision by the government, the Pakistan Cricket Board had hailed the players for their contribution to the game.
“Wasim and Waqar are highly-respected commentators and have played their role in enhancing the image of Pakistan and cricket as broadcasters, while Yasir has had a lion’s share in Pakistan’s major Test wins in the recent past.”
Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis receiving the Hilal-i-Imtiaz which is the second highest Pakistani civilian award and is given to individuals who have made outstanding contributions in their fields and that have led to international recognition pic.twitter.com/ABW25h0fz6— Saj Sadiq (@Saj_PakPassion) March 23, 2019
Captain Aaron Finch took his improving form from India to the UAE as he cracked a fluent 116 and got excellent support from Shaun Marsh, who remained unbeaten on 91.
The ease with which Australia chased down the runs on a flat Sharjah wicket under lights showed the remarkable improvement in their 50-over game and also exposed the cracks in Pakistan’s ODI armour in the lead-up to the World Cup.
Ahead of the second ODI between the two sides in Sharjah on Sunday, we take a look at the main talking points.
AMIR AND SHAH WOES
Mohammad Amir's worrying form in ODIs - last 12 matches:— Saj Sadiq (@Saj_PakPassion) March 22, 2019
Runs conceded 388
Pakistan’s bowlers failed to make any sort of impact as the Aussies cruised to the second highest successful run-chase in Sharjah. Left-arm pacer Amir has been struggling in 50-over cricket for some time and his effort in the opening clash was an extension of that trend. Amir went wicketless in his nine overs that went for 59 runs. The left-armer has now gone wicketkless in seven of his last 10 ODIs, which is poor for any regular bowler, let alone a new-ball pacer.
Leg-spinner Shah’s spot in the 50-over set-up was anyhow under the scanner and his figures of 0-56 in 10 overs will do little to convince fans or selectors of his World Cup credentials. With veteran seamer Mohammad Abbas also in the bowling plans as of now, Pakistan’s attack has a bit of a Test match feel to it.
RING IN THE CHANGES?
Pakistan’s batting was decent. Opener Shan Masood took his time to score 40 while Haris Sohail held the innings together during his 101. However, the charge from lower-order batsmen Faheem Ashraf and Imad Wasim (28 each) came a bit late and maybe the top order batsmen should have accelerated earlier.
However, it’s the bowling that needs a closer look. With a proven wicket taker like left-arm quick Junaid Khan and young up and coming tearaway pacer Mohammad Hasnain in the side, captain Shoaib Malik might be inclined to to bring in one of the two. Amir has already been dropped before and whether or not he features in the second match, the pacer needs a big number in the wickets column very soon.
AUSTRALIA IN CRUISE CONTROL
Finch and his team-mates must be over the moon. They have now won four matches in a row – three in India after being 2-0 down and one in the UAE. In all these matches, the Australians looked in control for large parts, which is even better news as the World Cup nears.
For the visitors, the control provided by 20 overs of spinners Nathan Lyon (1-38) and Adam Zampa (0-44) was the most pleasing aspect as that put a brake on the scoring in the middle overs and kept the target within reach.
Finch himself was in deep trouble during the home series against India, with a technical flaw in his front-foot play brutally exposed. However, he has overcome that issue and is back among the runs, which means Australia are beginning to cover every base.