KARACHI: Dashing opener Ahmed Shehzad stole everyone’s thunder on Sunday as he became the first Pakistani player to smash a century in the Twenty20 format and record tons in all three formats of the game.
Before Sunday’s match, Shehzad’s previous best of 98 not out against Zimbabwe at Harare in 2013 was also the highest by a Pakistani batsman in the Twenty20 International format.
In the early part of his career, Shehzad was under the microscope for mainly disciplinary issues. In 2008, he was spotted at a nightclub in Nairobi along with fast bowler Anwer Ali during Pakistan Academy’s visit to Kenya. The team management came down hard on him, imposing a two-match ban on him and fining him $400. His erratic performance and less than gentlemanly conduct did not pick up much in 2009 despite several outings with the national team.
In 2011 he violated discipline during a short spell in the team. He was banned for a first class match for showing displeasure and arguing with the umpire over the latter’s decision. He also had a quarrel with one of his fellow players in Dubai. Shehzad’s close circles say he is trying to improve his discipline.
In the last two years, Shehzad has worked hard to put all this behind him. His blossoming into one of the team’s better batsmen has certainly helped. There are a still a couple of issues he needs to sort out first. Some more consistency with the bat would probably silence some, if not all, of his detractors.
Since his 98 runs against Zimbabwe in 2013, this is the first time that he has been able to cross the 50-run mark in Twenty20 cricket. While his 111 not out against Bangladesh on Sunday shows his talent, his unimpressive average of 12.55 in the nine previous matches stands out like an eyesore.
Just a few days back, he scored a century against Bangladesh at the very same venue in the Asia Cup one-day. In the current tournament, however, he has been able to only post 22 runs against India and five runs against Australia.
Both these performances triggered harsh criticism against Shehzad. That is why he has dedicated his century to his critics.
Shehzad, who is a Pathan, lives in Lahore. That is why most people think he hails from Punjab.
In the national team he is very close to Shahid Afridi. His career was also established during the period when Afridi led the team. He has also participated in the Caribbean and Bangladesh leagues, and is a friend of Chris Gayle. In the current World Twenty20, he has been spotted often with Yuvraj Singh. His company consists of players who are aggressive like him.
Despite Shehzad’s match-winning innings, Pakistan still has a tough road towards the final. To qualify for a spot in the semi-finals, it must beat the West Indies on Tuesday.
Although the green shirts are proud of their spinners, their final opponents in the group stage are coached by former Pakistan spinner Saqlain Mushtaq. His advice may provide West Indian batsmen like Gayle a counter to Pakistan’s bowling attack.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 31st, 2014.
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Highest score against Bangladesh and second highest against Zimbabwe....!? And your writing abt him like he achieved something?! Chotay matches ka bara player...Uh
Whether he belongs to Pathans or Punjabis, both are the brave sons of Pakistan. We love them both. Hats of to Ahmed Shahzad. May ALLAH bring more and more success for you in future.
He desperately tried to get out in desperation of copying AB! I wish he develops some sense and if he is that desperate to copy AB's scoop then practice it in nets before executing it!
It was a treat to watch Ahmed Shehzad in control yesterday. His century came with ease and flair and spectators/viewers must have seen the natural talent cum technique. Inshallah, the young man has a future in cricket. However, after reading the top paragraphs, he should come to Karachi and mix with the locals and learn some manners. Salams
very poor article.. seems more like an opinionated letter on a forum than his actual performance last night. there was no need to mention about the past.
Express tribune i found your article pretty racist in one sense. You are specifically writing he is not from Punjab and he is a Pathan. I know the land of Punjab is taken for granted even when you are born here still Punjab is the place to bring shame to you?. Your articles promote racism as they stress on past origins rather than current association with the land where you are raised.
Shehzad, who is a Pathan, lives in Lahore. That is why most people think he hails from Punjab
He was born and bred in Punjab and if he still dont belong from Punjab then from where he belong to?. The land which gave him the platform to excel has no contribution whatsoever? Does anyone belong from Punjab actually?. Is it a shame to associate with Punjab or what?