Left out of the tour of West Indies despite an incredible domestic season, Sohaib Maqsood will finally get his chance of representing Pakistan as he was named in the Twenty20 squad for the Zimbabwe Tour.
The player had been working hard in the National Cricket Academy (NCA) to dispel fitness concerns that cost him a place in the national squad for the West Indies assignment.
The 26-year-old middle-order batsman, who plays for Multan and Wapda, possesses a terrific record at the domestic level with 2,737 runs to his name in 42 first-class matches and average of 43.44.
The numbers get even better in the 50-over format; an average of 51.81 with 1,399 runs from 32 matches speaks volumes about Maqsood’s capabilities. Two centuries and 10 fifties complimented by a strike-rate of 97.35 complete the one-day picture for the batsman.
Maqsood has arguably been the find of the season after he was declared the best batsman in the President’s One-day Trophy with 427 runs, retaking the same award in the Faysal Bank One-day Cup with 475 runs. Additionally, he starred in the President’s Trophy with 618 runs to finish as one of the leading scorers while he went on to score 402 runs in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy along with a couple of important wickets with his off-spin.
“It’s a special day because my dream will finally be fulfilled,” Maqsood, who holds an MBA degree, told The Express Tribune.
“I worked hard in the NCA with the Academy’s staff and finally have been rewarded with a place in Pakistan’s Twenty20 team. My work now starts at a whole new level as it will be a different challenge and one which I’m looking forward to.”
Rising from the ashes
Maqsood started his career as an off-spinner and even made it to Pakistan’s U19 team with this skill. However, a career-threatening back injury forced him to leave the game and he only returned as a batsman. But his career received another major setback when he had to undergo surgery for his broken Achilles tendon while batting in a domestic tournament, keeping him out of the game for another two years.
“I returned last year to the circuit after avoiding two career-threatening injuries because I have the resolve and willpower to fight against the odds. I have left a Rs1.5million contract in England’s league cricket as well. The last 18 months have been extraordinary for me as I’ve performed in all the tournaments I’ve played so far.”
‘I don’t copy Inzamam’
His batting has drawn comparison with the legendary Inzamamul Haq as he is strongly built and is a fearsome hitter. However, Maqsood stressed that he has never tried to copy the highly-accomplished batsman.
“There was only one Inzamam and no one can play like him as he is a legend,” he said. “I have my own way but a lot of people have told me that I bat like him, maybe because of my strong build and big shots.”
Published in The Express Tribune, August 7th, 2013.