Just hours after being named in Pakistan’s 16-man squad for the tour of Zimbabwe, Rameez Raja, who shot to fame with a strike-rate of over 150 in June’s Super Eight Twenty20, made it clear that his aggression did not accurately describe his expertise with the bat.
Although his hard-hitting at the top of the order, where he also scored 238 runs from five matches, grabbed the selectors’ attention, he also has three first-class centuries that has helped his cause of being considered a prospect in all three formats of the game.
“My batting is not only about hitting boundaries,” Raja told The Express Tribune. “I enjoy playing the shortest format but at the same time, one-dayers and Tests are where I put my main focus.
“Many people take me as a hard-hitting batsman but i’m really not. I have been performing well in all forms of cricket at domestic tournaments,” added Raja who top-scored in this year’s Quaid-e-Azam Trophy Division One with 801 runs from 11 matches.
Consistency is his aim
The right-handed batsman, who turns 24 tomorrow, said that if is given a fair amount of opportunities against Zimbabwe, his main aim would be to show consistency.
“I won’t go there targeting big runs but my aim would be to show consistency as I have done in my domestic career. If I get chances in all three formats, I will show my worth in all versions.”
Delighted on the inclusion
While his performance in the Twenty20 tournament pressed his claims for a call-up, the inclusion, when it came, was termed a huge breakthrough in his career.
“It’s like a dream come true. I played for Pakistan’s junior team as well as Pakistan ‘A’ but the feeling of being in the national squad is something exceptional. Years of hard work on the domestic circuit has finally paid off.”
Chief selector Mohsin Khan has reminded youngsters to perform straight away as their chances have been limited due to the drought of international cricket in Pakistan. Raja, wary of the notice, has said that the extra pressure will not hamper his performance.
“I will just try to play my natural game. The selectors are right in their policy because our country is full of talent.”
‘Fast Track Programme helped a lot’
Meanwhile, Raja, who attended the first phase of the Fast Track Programme at the National Cricket Academy (NCA), said that it helped him fine-tuning his batting.
“The coaches [Mohsin and Ijaz Ahmed] helped a lot in removing minor flaws. The good thing was that they didn’t try to change my technique. It improved my batting a lot and hopefully the results will be visible in Zimbabwe.”
Published in The Express Tribune, July 28th, 2011.
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