Shahid Afridi, Umar Akmal, Younus Khan, Ahmed Shehzad, Sohail Tanvir, Hammad Azam and Umar Gul are the names who have failed to make a place in the national team squad for the coming Champions Trophy because of different reasons, but a 24-year-old youngster has made it.

[caption id="attachment_714" align="alignright" width="270"]Asad Ali has been brilliant in domestic cricket. He took four wickets in President’s Cup final (Photo: Faras Ghani) Asad Ali has been brilliant in domestic cricket. He took four wickets in President’s Cup final (Photo: Faras Ghani)[/caption]

The announcement of initial 30-man squad had made many players overoptimistic, but as 15-man final squad has been announced now, many players have given up hopes. But certainly there are some lucky ones and one of them is Faisalabad’s youngster Asad Ali. Being a member of the victorious squads of the recently held Faisal Bank Super Eight and President Cup under the captaincy of Pakistan national team’s skipper Mibah-ul-Haq, Ali showed his talent and proved that he worth his salt to be included among the five pacers of the national team.

Will Ali be able to represent Pakistan in a tournament where world’s eight best teams are going to contest? Or will Ali only go there to do sightseeing of England as he did in India and South Africa?  Ali answered this and other questions in an exclusive chat with Cricnama. He said that despite having returned empty-handed from India and South Africa, he has not given up hope and achieved the target of getting most wickets in the President’s Cup One-day Tournament. Ali took four wickets off 37 runs in the final of President’s Cup and played a pivotal role in the victory of SNGPL.

Ali said he was delighted that he was included in the final 15-member squad for the Champions Trophy and added that it’s a good chance for young players to prove their worth in the absence of Umar Gul. Ali said he has been playing league cricket and is familiar with the conditions there, thus he will make the most of this edge.

Talking about the training under the supervision of Pakistan legendary bowler Wasim Akram in a national bowling camp in Karachi, Ali said being coached by Wasim Akram was not less than a dream. He said from the grip of the ball to making the use of the crease, he learned many techniques of pace bowling. He said he was a swing bowler naturally and hoped that Akram’s would help him improve further. Ali said he learned of many of his mistakes during the 10-day camp and is working to rid of them. He said his target in the Champions Trophy is a performance that will earn him a permanent place in the national team.

Although the target set by the young pacer seems difficult to achieve, but if unfortunately he get a few chances and he demonstrates his talent, then he is likely to be a new addition in Pakistan’s bowling line-up.

However, only time will tell if Ali succeeds in fulfilling the nation’s expectations, but his bowling performance can be gauged by the records he achieved. His 355 wickets in 78 first-class matches at 22.87 portray his talent. Let’s see how he will put in his efforts if he gets a chance to represent Pakistan in the year’s most important event.
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