KARACHI: Dejected with a series of rejections from the Pakistan team’s squad, left-arm fast-bowler Junaid Khan is looking to permanently settle in England and one day represent The Three Lions.
With 71 Test wickets to his name, Junaid is the highest wicket-taker in Pakistan’s current crop of fast-bowlers but was snubbed by the Inzamamul Haq-led selection committee, with the former skipper saying Junaid has struggled to find rhythm since he sustained a knee injury last year.
However, Junaid has shown glimpses of his prodigious best, impressing in the Pakistan Super League with Peshawar Zalmi, both with the new ball as well as at the death. He also accounted for big-hitting West Indian opener Chris Gayle in his very first over against the Lahore Qalandars.
Junaid was part of the 50-over Pakistan Cup and was named in the army-led fitness boot camp in Kakul. The International Cricket Council also carried out a random doping test on Junaid, alongside leg-spinner Yasir Shah, Test captain Misbahul Haq and ODI skipper Azhar Ali.
But the 26-year-old is now frustrated at the amount of time he has spent at the peripheries of the team.
“Junaid feels hurt after being constantly ignored by the selectors and is looking to permanently settle in England,” a member of Junaid’s family told The Express Tribune. “He thinks that he is being treated unjustly and therefore feels it is better for him to play his cricket in England where his talent is respected and valued.”
Junaid has already turned out for county sides Lancashire and Middlesex, impressing for both teams.
Junaid’s 71 wickets have come at an average of 31.73 with five five-wicket hauls in 22 Tests. While his numbers may not appear very impressive, it must be kept in mind that the left-armer has played most of his matches on the dead pitches of UAE and Sri Lanka.
Junaid himself played down the notion that he is still struggling with a knee injury. “I’m perfectly fit, and have been taking part in all the usual training exercises,” he said, before expressing his frustration at the snubs. “I don’t know why I’ve been overlooked. It’s demoralising for me and I feel heartbroken.”
The left-armer revealed he was looking forward to bowling in English conditions aiding his brand of swing bowling, especially considering the difficult pitches he has bowled on so far. “I’ve performed on barren pitches so far in my career and when the time came for me to bowl in conditions that would perfectly suit my bowling, I was ignored,” he said.
The Matra-born’s wife already resides in England, which will make things even less complicated if he too is to move there permanently.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 8th, 2016.
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