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Hasan Ali: Pakistan's not-so-secret weapon

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Hasan_Ali_Pakistan_Cricket10 wickets in the ongoing Champions Trophy, 2017, including three 3-fors. 39 ODI wickets from just 20 innings, with best match figures of 5 for 38. Pakistan, it seems, have uncovered a great find to add to their bowling ammunition that’s mostly hinged on the powers of Amir and Wahab.

With Hasan Ali, 23-year-old medium pacer bowling like a rocketeer on a mission, it seems the batsmen in the Champions Trophy have had quite a task to score runs off him.

Did you see Ben Stokes step out to Hasan at Sophia Gardens? Could you find Dickwella or Chandimal send Hasan Ali’s scorchers out of Cardiff’s serene greens? That said, did du Plessis or de Villiers butcher Wahab and Amir’s support partner?

As a newcomer in international cricket, Hasan Ali is not the guy you would bet on, given his dainty cricket-playing experience. In case you need reminding, Hasan made his debut all the way back in August 2016. And, right now, we are still far from an August marking a year of his career.

Furthermore, he might not be a guy you would expect to reduce flourishing batsmen to rats ducking under cover. But, at first instant, it seems where Hasan has made his mark is to have sensed in the responsibility of being Pakistan’s attack’s first change bowler: an opportunity to shine as a leading frontline pacer.

You don’t need to be a Harsha or a bowling coach to sense or appreciate the riveting beauty in seeing the rabid pacer deliver blazing bullets as its panned out this Champions Trophy: as he approaches a long, skidding run to the bowling crease.

Hasan Ali’s key strength has been his restricting lines, not allowing batsmen to free their arms.

As the much-anticipated final knocks on our doors, where most would see a sporting contest of epic proportions between two great rivals, Hasan Ali, it could be argued, for all his enthusiasm and unbridled passion for bowling his heart out, would wish for June 18 to be just another encounter; or, something of that sort.

It would not only be interesting to see how an in-form Dhawan, India’s marathon scorer in the tournament, would handle Hasan Ali’s blitz. Rather, it would also make for a fitting contest to see Virat tackle an in-form adversary.

Not that it’s the first time that a premier batsman like a Kohli would be facing up to ICC Champion’s Trophy’s most consistent medium pacer. In the recent past, the likes of big-hitting Kieron Pollard and West Indies’ most stable willower in recent times, Marlon Samuels, both have waged interesting battles in the middle with Hasan, during Pakistan’s recent tour to the Caribbean.

But, those battles were rather short-lived for Windies’ batsmen, with Hasan making the West Indians look like college going blokes attempting to slog a pacer out in a vain attempt, only meeting endless embarrassment.

But that was then. This is now, the Champion’s Trophy 2017. It is here that Hasan Ali has delivered a blinder- with the way he’s rattled a Faf in Pakistan’s unexpected drubbing of the Proteas or Sri Lanka’s Kusal Mendis, in his side’s overwhelming of the Lankans, is central to Cricket rewarding fans with a victory of faith and persistence in novices from whom one doesn’t exactly expect shining marvels.

With age and zeal on his side, it seems like Hasan Ali’s time has already come, with a lot out there to be achieved and played for. Who knows, with the peculiar celebration of throwing his arms wide open, fisted in the air, as what one’s seen whenever Hasan castles someone or has one caught behind- we might be seeing the most familiar Pakistani bowling celebration since Shoaib Akhtar’s freewheeling run resembling an aerojet?

 

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