A terrific start to career

RIZWAN EHSAN ALI

HIS late father had predicted that he would score a century in his first Test match for Pakistan. He made his father proud with a century in each innings of his debut Test — a feat achieved only once before in the history of Test cricket.

Yasir Hameed with coach Javed Miandad .— Pic. REUTERS-

At 25, Yasir Hameed's two first Test innings of 170 and 105 came against minnows Bangladesh at Karachi's National Stadium, the same venue, where he made ducks for his hometown Peshawar, when he made his first class debut in 1996-97.

But after six years of hardwork, the right-handed batsman at last succeeded in convincing the selectors with a double century in this year's Quaid-e-Azam Trophy match at the same venue. "I was always confident that if I performed well in domestic cricket I would get a chance".

My late father used to say that I would be a world class cricketer. He had always said "you will score a century in your first Test". Yasir admires Javed Miandad and Brian Lara as his idols and tries to copy Lara when he flicks or pulls. "They are my idols," he said after he was adjudged Man of the Match of the Test.

Not many lawyers would encourage their children to take up cricket as a profession in Pakistan, but Yasir's father had always wanted him to play this sport. "He was a lawyer but he wanted me to play cricket and make a name for myself in international cricket," Yasir says. He loves to play under pressure and in both the innings came to the crease after Pakistan lost the first wicket in quick time. "One should not be afraid of playing under pressure because it helps a batsman. If one has the temperament to survive the early pressure in the innings, things are bound to get easy for you.

"But that doesn't mean that one takes pressure on himself and go into a shell. It's necessary not to spare any loose deliveries and give it the right treatment it deserves."

That's exactly what Yasir did to the Bangladeshi bowlers during the two innings. The best thing about Yasir is that he plays all his shots with so much command and authority that its hard to identify his strong or weak areas. But he admits that the opposition was not tough and only seamer Mashrafe Bin Murtaza impressed him a bit.

Whether Yasir is the answer to Pakistan's much awaited No. 3 position or not? Miandad says: "He (Yasir) himself doesn't know what he has done in this Test. His 170 gave us a lead of 58 runs as the rest of our batsmen had scored just 30s and 40s.

"No doubt he is off to a terrific start, now its up to him to do some long-term planning and capitalise on these efforts. His real test will come when he plays Test matches against South Africa or Australia on different types of pitches."

Yasir is well aware that international cricket demands consistent performance. He doesn't want to be like Mohammad Wasim, Wajahatullah Wasti or Ali Naqvi, who all came with a bang in international cricket, but now are just in the record books.

"I believe hard work doesn't go waste and inshallah I will continue to be part of the Pakistan team in the years to come purely on performance."