Ehsan Adil impressed his team management and fans back home with his bowling – and a big heart – in an impressive under-19 World Cup for Pakistan.
However, it was his transition into first-class cricket immediately afterwards that has been more impressive – seven matches for HBL in his maiden season and he is the joint highest wicket-taker in the President’s Trophy with 47 wickets, including three five-wicket hauls and an average of under 16.
Adil, naturally, did not imagine the transition – and his rise – to be this quick and smooth. But according to the right-arm fast-bowler, the confidence instilled in him by Abdul Raquib – a former selector – and Test discard Imran Farhat has helped calm his nerves – the pair predicted he will end the trophy as the best bowler.
“Apart from the faith in me, it is the amount of responsibility I’ve been given that has allowed me to bloom quickly,” said Adil, who revealed that he nearly joined KRL but a late call-up by HBL was an opportunity he just could not turn down. He was wary of the star-studded line-up HBL had and was not sure if he would get matches regularly, but the assurances were enough for him to put pen on paper.
“The learning curve has been steep but effective. The advice I’ve been receiving from Younus Khan has been very important and he allows me to bowl the way I want to.”
Waqar was his idol
The Gojra-born Adil grew up watching Waqar Younis before he concentrated on Mohammad Asif’s ability to move the ball both ways at will. Restless, Adil is now concentrating on improving his batting too as he wants to help his team out of difficult situations, gradually developing into a bowler who can be trusted with the bat too.
The steep rise, however, was given birth after just three balls before he was selected for Faisalabad U15.
“I was reluctant but my friend took me to those trials. I never thought I’d be selected so I didn’t want to waste my time at the trials. It seemed as if only those with some sort of backing used to get the selectors’ nod.”
Match-winner at a young age
The lanky pacer has not looked back since. Adil has been a match-winner on big occasions since making it to the national U19 squad.
He helped Pakistan win the away series against South Africa by playing a 22-run cameo in the final and also helped them draw the Asia Cup final against India in the last over.
He almost won them the U19 World Cup quarter-final against India with a 35-run knock, two wickets and that catch at third-man that made people sit up and take notice. The loss, though, still ranks as his worst, but the confidence that more chances will come his way keeps him motivated.
“Losing to India in the quarter-final still hurts and I still have every moment from that game in my head. But now I can see what I did wrong and that’s the important thing.”
Published in The Express Tribune, November 18th, 2012.