Junaid was out of the team and out of the news for a long time, and now he is back. Back with a bang & straight away making an impression. An impression that will last, for sure. This was much needed for Junaid and much needed for his fans.
Junaid has been asking for a comeback for a long time. Even the fans were asking the PCB to bring him back. With his fantastic performances in the domestic circuit, he was knocking more and more insistently on the doors of the selectors. At last, the knocks have been answered. The prayers of the fans have been answered.
Pakistani fans were of the opinion that the PCB was unfair not to pick Junaid, and to some extent they were right. Junaid is a world class bowler, and he has proved himself time and again. When he wasn’t picked or passed over even with brilliant performances, people came to the conclusion that the PCB’s selection policy wasn’t fair. The pieces just fit the picture and proved those assumptions correct.
Whatever the reasons for not selecting him before, nobody cares about that now. Because the main point is that he is back. And back for good (hopefully).
He is back. The captain hands the new white ball to him. He takes the ball, walks to his mark, gets ready on the mark and sets the ball in his hand the way he wants it to swing – either in or out.
He starts taking short strides, short strides that gradually turn into long ones. He lands his right leg just on the crease so that it is not an illegal delivery. He swings his left arm, delivering the ball at a blistering pace; he is known for this.
The batsman is anticipating the type of the delivery from his wrist position and release of the ball. The ball pitches on a good length. It starts to swing away from the left-hander at the last moment. The batsman is beaten all ends up, beaten the sheer pace and quality of the ball. It instills fear in the batsman’s mind, and that is what Junaid Khan does best.
Junaid Khan brings pacy bowling to the line-up; he adds versatility; he adds quality to the attack; and most important of all, he adds new ball bowling to the line-up. Bowling with the new ball and swinging it around at will is one of his key contributions to this team. It is one of the most beautiful gifts that he brings to the table with him. You give him the new ball and you can be almost 90% sure that he will get you a wicket in the first ten overs. Such is his ability.
A wicket in the first spell of a bowler is really what all captains want. Junaid makes the ball talk like some of the best in the world, and he does it at will. Thanks to his great skill with the new ball, he gives Pakistan’s third pacer Wahab Riaz the old ball to use, which Wahab prefers as he uses reverse far more than conventional swing. Junaid can reverse it too. When he was a regular in the team, he was a very valuable and precious asset during the death overs because he could reverse it very well and had the instinct and knowledge of death bowling at the same time. He still has that now, because that is his natural way of bowling.
Junaid also gives that extra bit of room to Amir too. Since Amir’s comeback, everybody has been only looking to Amir, and that puts that extra pressure on the poor little soul. With Junaid back now, Amir can take a breath of relief and have his own personal space. Junaid gives him stability and familiarity, which is something Amir has needed for a while now. With this, Amir will become a bit more effective too.
The spotlight won’t shine too harshly on Amir now because Junaid is the one currently in the spotlight. This way, the duo of Amir and Junaid would be far more effective than just one of them playing, as they will effectively split the pressure between them.
Junaid’s comeback has been what Pakistan needed and what their fans have been hoping for after a long time. He brings a balance to the team which was not there before, and most importantly, he brings his valuable skill set with him.
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