KARACHI: Pakistan fast-bowler Hasan Ali is optimistic about producing a match winning spell against arch rivals India in the upcoming Asia Cup in United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Ali has steadily established himself as a potent weapon in the Pakistan bowling line-up since making his debut in ODIs against Ireland in August 2016.
While speaking to media at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore, the pacer said that he is aware that his fans love his celebration style which is why he is keen on ensuring that they witness quite a lot of it in the Asia Cup and especially in the match against India.
“I would love to pick up five or even ten wickets in match against India so that my fans can enjoy my unique celebration style,” he said. “Hopefully the Indo-Pak encounter will be a good one.”
The Pakistan pacer is third on the list for most wickets (68) taken by bowlers — who have taken 10 or more wickets — since Ali made his debut.
The bowlers above him is Afghanistan and England leg spinners Rashid Khan and Adil Rashid, who are first and second respectively, which makes Ali the best fast-bowler in the world since his first ODI.
In the same span of time, he also jointly holds the record for most five-wicket hauls (3) along with Kiwi pacer Trent Boult.
The impact Ali has made through his bowling can be judged from the fact that he has picked up 46 wickets at an average of 13.73 and an economy rate of 4.04 in matches Pakistan has won while in matches the Men in Green lost, his average and economy rate drastically deteriorates to 35.81 and 6.80 with only 22 wickets to his credit.
Bearing in mind his past performances, Ali said that he relishes the role of being under pressure to perform whenever he takes the field.
“I know that the team look towards me when they need wickets, which is why I try to provide the breakthrough whenever the side needs it most,” he said. “This brings no added pressure because I relish such a situation.”
Ali has been the highest wicket-taker for Pakistan in the past year with 26 scalps in 12 matches at an average of just 18 and a frugal economy rate of 4.76.
He has a phenomenal record in the UAE as well where he claimed 17 wickets in eight matches at an average of 14.17.
The 24-year-old said the Men in Green have been preparing extensively for the tournament, while their experience of playing in the UAE will aid them in the upcoming event.
“The conditions in UAE will suit us as we have experience of playing here regularly,” he said. “We defeated India in our last clash which will also benefit us. Also, our preparations are on track for the event.”
In October last year, Ali became the number-one ranked bowler in the world while he currently sits on number three spot in the International Cricket Council (ICC) ODI bowlers rankings.
His haul of 13 wickets in five games was instrumental in Pakistan’s triumphant run in the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy.
Ali holds the record for being the quickest Pakistan bowler to reach fifty wickets in ODI in just 24 matches, going past Waqar Younis record of 27 matches.
Despite stealing the limelight with the ball in the past year or so ,Ali appreciated the efforts put in by the rest of the Pakistan bowling armoury.
“Mohammad Amir is a world-class bowler and Usman Khan Shinwari has also settled in well despite playing only few matches so far,” he said.
Ali recoded the best score (20) in the Yo-Yo tests recently conducted on the Pakistani players before the Asia Cup in Lahore which was better than the score of India captain Virat Kohli, who, according to reports reached an estimated score of 19.3. Speaking on this, Ali said that it is not fair to compare him with Kohli.
“Kohli is a great player as we all know,” he said. “It is not fair to compare me with him as he is our senior.”
The Asia Cup is scheduled to begin from September 15 with the opening match between Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
Pakistan will play its first match against the team which comes through the qualifying round on September 16, while the Green Caps will lock horns with their nemeses India on September 19.