Saad Nasim talks to Hassan Ahmed Khan about his debut in international cricket
1) Your performance in the Champions League T20 2014 earned you a spot in Pakistan T20 squad. What were your feelings when your name was announced in the team?
SN: First of all, I would like to thank God Almighty. It was my aim to play for Pakistan so it was a moment of joy when my name was announced for Pakistan’s T20 side. I was working hard while playing Champions League T20 and my hard work paid off. The atmosphere in the dressing room was such that players like Ahmed Shehzad, Umar Akmal, Nasir Jamshed, Wahab bhai and Hafeez bhai not only supported me and encouraged me but also guided me throughout the tournament.
2) It was your first T20 and that too against Australia. Were you feeling nervous?
SN: No, I was not nervous. The management, including Mushtaq Ahmed, Waqar Younis, Shahid Afridi and other seniors in the side, really gave me confidence and supported me as well. There is always pressure when you are making your debut and that too against Australia but I really enjoyed playing against them.
3) You got a chance to share a dressing room with the big names. How did it affect your performance and how was your experience?
SN: The management and supporting staff comprises world class players and stars like Moin Khan, Waqar Younis, Mushtaq Ahmed and Shahid Afridi. I feel very lucky and fortunate enough to learn from them. Shahid Afridi backed me in bowling and batting and so did other senior players. Mushtaq Ahmed really helped me with my bowling.
4) How important it is for a youngster to be supported by the coach, captain and senior players?
SN: I came in as a youngster in the team while we were playing CL T20. Seniors like Ahmed Shehzad, Umar Akmal, Hafeez supported me throughout while the management also helped me in a way that did not let me feel any pressure during the tournament.
5) How was the experience representing Lahore Lions in the Champions League T20 in India?
SN: It was a great experience playing in front of a huge crowd, as international cricket is not being played in Pakistan. We learned how to tackle the pressure of international media and crowd. We played good cricket throughout the tournament and gained a lot of experience. Hafeez bhai really helped me in the nets and so did our coach Mohsin and Shafiq Papa, our team manager. They guided me and I learned a lot from them, which was evident in my performance and it helped me throughout the tournament.
6) How would you compare Lahore Lions’ preparation compared to the other teams in Champions League T20?
SN: Lahore Lions was the team of a city whereas other teams like that of Australia were selected from all over their countries. The Indian teams were franchise-based having world class players in them. We defeated ‘Mumbai Indians’ and the Sri Lankan domestic champions. We played close matches throughout the CLT20. We don’t play much cricket like other teams. We only have two domestic T20 tournaments, while other teams and players play counties and many other tournaments. This was for the first time that a Pakistan domestic team qualified for the main round.
7) You were a consistent performer for Lahore Lions in the Champions League. What did you do different compared to other batsmen?
SN: All of us were performing in the CLT20 except one or two individuals. I really worked hard during the practice sessions, as my aim was to play for Pakistan. It was a big event for which my name was included in Pakistan side. I thank the Almighty for the respect I earned and for making me perform for my team Lahore Lions and Pakistan.
8) You left WAPDA to represent Lahore Lions. Any specific reason for giving preference to a region over a department.
SN: I gave preference to Lahore Lions over WAPDA as Lahore Lions let me play as an all-rounder whereas in WAPDA I was playing only as a batsman. I wanted to be utilised as an all-rounder and I am thankful to Lahore Lions for giving me this opportunity. I am an all-rounder and I want to play for my region and country in the future as well.
9) Real cricket is Test cricket. Do you have any plans to play Test cricket or do you just want to focus on T20 and One Day Internationals?
SN: My focus is on the Test cricket as well and that is one of the reasons I am playing domestic cricket and working hard to achieve the goal to play for Pakistan in the longer version of the game. In the recent match against Australia, Yasir Shah and Zulfiqar Babar performed very well. I will try my best to perform well so that my name would be considered for the Test and One-Day teams as well.
10) Where do you see yourself in the future?
SN: I want to serve Pakistan for a long period of time and want to perform for my country at the highest level.