In recently held T20 series between Pakistan and Zimbabwe, Ahmed Shehzad played the biggest innings in the first game. However, the confidence of debutant batsman Sohaib Maqsood was also worth watching. Just after getting off the mark on his sixth ball, the next one he sent to six over long-on. That shot was evident of his ambitions.

Though Sohaib played a brief innings of 26 runs, the way he played those 16 balls, hitting two sixes and one four, was enough to make spectators as well as experts fell for this lad from Multan. Some overzealous experts even started comparing him with legendary batsman Inzimam-ul-Haq.

The 26-year-old MBA degree holder is being raved about by cricket analysts, and they are declaring him a future star. But where were all these people when in domestic season he piled up runs after runs and needed media attention? These experts turned a blind eye to him, and some even rejected him categorically, saying he was not the "material" for international cricket.

Sohaib Maqsood

A few months earlier when Super8 T20 cup was held in Lahore, Multan's skipper Sohaib played captain's innings and also showed his bowling skills against Lahore Lions. At that time, I got the news that his strokes had impressed Dav Whatmore and T20 captain Mohammad Hafeez. However, Hafeez was a bit concerned about his fitness and planned to give him chance in the next season.

After the game between Lahore Lions and Multan tigers, I met the "professor" and asked him about this young batsman. Hafeez confirmed that Sohaib has a matchless talent and he can be a part of the team in coming tours.

After this brief conversation with Hafeez, I wrote on a social networking website that Sohaib was going to be a part of the national team in the next series. Sohaib performed remarkably in T20 format and Hafeez wanted him to be part of T20 team initially. Therefore, by saying next series I meant the next T20 series.

However, as soon as I wrote that, a representative of a foreign website sitting behind me at the Qaddafi Stadium, Lahore, press box quickly asked me that given the next series was the Champions Trophy,would the PCB's selection committee going to give Sohaib chance for such mega event. Finding my answer in the affirmative his response was like "I don't think so".

I wrote a review about Sohaib's performance in national T20 and referred him as a "tiger of Multan", for he is always hungry to score runs. In addition, this reference was quite right as Sohaib was scoring runs against every bowler and kept filling scorebooks. I wrote that Sohaib was among the top performers in the ongoing season but still his name was not in the shortlisted 30 players for the Champions Trophy. I was quite sure that could not be neglected for very long. This run-scoring Multani Tiger was inevitable to be part of the national team.

In National One Day Cup, Sohaib scored 475 runs in 6 innings with an impressive average of 95. His career best innings was against Karachi Dolphins when he scored 156 runs on 95 balls with the help of 13 fours and 10 sky-high sixes.

Sohaib made his first-class debut as offspinner 10 years ago, but initial failures confined him to grade two or district-level cricket. However, he was a new batsman when he made his comeback in the 2007-08 season; a batsman who must have spent many hours practising on the net.

In his second appearance in Quaid-e-Azam Trophy, he scored 123 runs while bating at number 6 against Karachi Whites. In that season, Sohaib Maqsood scored 537 runs with the average of 53.70 in 12 innings.

The 2012-13 season was a turning point for him as besides reaching the 1000-run mark he was also declared the best ODI batsman. This helped him get a chance for West Indies tour but fitness barred him the favour.

Pakistan has found a dependable batsman in Sohaib who has a wide range of strokes. He can adjust himself to any format and his average of more than 43 in first class and around 51 in ODIs is a proof of that.

PCB should utilise his talent rather than wasting him in just T20s. This Multani batsman has the ability to play longer innings and losing such talent is certainly not affordable for Pakistan.

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