Rejuvenated Talha eyes long run

Fast-bowler, Hafeez and Gul recalled for Sri Lanka Test series.

Fawad Hussain December 26, 2013
Mohammad Talha, regarded as the fastest bowler in the domestic circuit, returns to international cricket after a five-year hiatus. PHOTO: AFP


Mohammad Talha’s return to international cricket after five years did not come as a surprise when the Pakistan Cricket Board’s (PCB) selection committee named a 15-man squad for the upcoming Test series against Sri Lanka.

The Faisalabad-born fast-bowler has been a consistent performer in the domestic circuit since making his first-class debut in 2007, snapping 272 wickets from 69 matches. This includes his tally of 33 wickets from just six matches in the ongoing President’s Trophy.

The 25-year old made his debut in the infamous Test that saw the Sri Lanka team endure a terrorist attack in Lahore in 2009.

He bowled at 90 miles per hour during the match but failed to bag impressive figures. He only succeeded in recording a performance of one off 88 from the first-innings against Sri Lanka before the match was abandoned.

The memories of the unremarkable debut seem to have fainted from Talha’s mind as he eyes a successful return to international cricket.

“I never lost hope and continued to work hard,” the fast-bowler told The Express Tribune.

“I finally got the reward for this and I am delighted on my selection. My inclusion in the Test squad has taken my motivation to a new level.”

Talha further stated that he wanted to make his presence felt this time.

“I am targeting a long run with the national team for which I will have to perform.

“The UAE tracks are not helpful for the fast-bowlers, but I am confident of doing well on the basis of my current form.”

Dazzling Hafeez regains Test slot

In-form Mohammad Hafeez also made a comeback as he was paid for his outstanding performance in the ongoing One-Day International (ODI) series which Pakistan leads 3-1.

The all-rounder, who has struck three centuries against Sri Lanka, was dropped from the last series against South Africa due to an abysmal run with the bat in the longest format.

Experienced pacer Umar Gul is also back after he proved his form and fitness in the ODI series, taking six wickets in the last two one-day games. The fast-bowler underwent knee surgery after returning mid-way from the tour to South Africa in March.

Meanwhile Mohammad Irfan, who is nursing a fractured hip, could not recover in time for the series.

However, the he is being sent to Dubai to recover under supervision of Dale Naylor, a recently appointed as physio-trainer by the PCB, and Dr Faisal (former team doctor).

Irfan will leave for Dubai on December 28.

Adnan Akmal was retained on the team management’s request. The selectors were earlier considering Sarfraz Ahmed as a replacement for Adnan, who had not impressed against South Africa.

“The team management wanted another opportunity for Adnan,” said an official close to the selection committee.  The three-match Test series will start in Abu Dhabi on December 31. The second Test will be held in Dubai (January 8-12) and the third in Sharjah (January 16-20).

Pakistan Squad

Misbahul Haq (captain), Mohammad Hafeez, Ahmed Shahzad, Khurram Manzoor, Shan Masood, Azhar Ali, Asad Shafiq, Younis Khan, Adnan Akmal, Junaid Khan, Saeed Ajmal, Abdul Rehman, Gul, Rahat Ali, Mohammad Talha

Published in The Express Tribune, December 27th, 2013.

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waseem sarwar | 9 years ago | Reply @Mohammed: and who will play ahead of him? Adnan is a average keeper and very bad batter but i haven't listened of anyone in domestic who can do better than him. If Sarfraz can learn how to hold a cricket bat, he is a better choice. :)
khan | 9 years ago | Reply Pakistan need a better wicket keeper not adnan not sarfraz
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