Sharjah, 24 March 2019:
Mohammad Hasnain’s rise to Pakistan colours is as fast as he bowls, making his one-day international debut within a week after spearheading Quetta Gladiators to the HBL Pakistan Super League title with a player of the final performance in front a packed-to-capacity National Stadium crowd.
Only to be 19 next month, an overjoyed Hasnain received Pakistan’s green cap from head coach Mickey Arthur as all members of the squad congratulated the young fast bowler at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium.
“I can’t describe the feeling, it’s a dream come true,” Hasnain told pcb.com.pk. “The prayers of my parents, my hard work and the guidance of all my coaches are behind this one-day debut and now I will do my best to fulfill the confidence reposed in me.”
Since joining the squad in Dubai, Hasnain has been on cloud nine.
“It has been a great feeling and everyone has welcomed me,” said Hasnain. “Team captain Shoaib Malik, bowling coach Azhar Mahmood and every teammate has been welcoming and supportive and that has made my heart bigger and bigger.
“I hope to be up for the challenge and hope to start a long career.”
Some four years ago, Australia maestro Steve Waugh had predicted Shaheen Shah Afridi and Hasnain would make it big by playing international cricket. Waugh had seen the two players during Pakistan Under-16 tour of Australia.
Shaheen made it big by playing all three formats last year. Sunday’s debut of Hasnain has made Waugh’s words true.
Pakistan Under-16 team’s former coach Mohammad Masroor recalled the tour to Australia in 2015.
“We did well on the tour and during one of the matches at the Bradman Ground near Sydney, Steve Waugh came to watch his son Austin. When he saw Shaheen and Hasnain in action, he predicted the two boys will make an impact at international level.”
Hasnain made an instant impact in the HBL PSL 2019, with his speed and hunger to do well. Although he took just seven wickets in five round matches, his ability to constantly bowl at 150kph caught everyone’s eye.
So impressed were the selectors and Arthur that Hasnain was rewarded with a place in the national team. He celebrated his maiden call with three for 30 in the HBL PSL final and took away the man-of-the-match award on that big stage in his short career’s biggest match before a packed 32,000 National Stadium on March 17.
“His pace is the most impressive and he has the potential of an international player,” said Arthur.
When Hasnain was told of the ODI debut, he instantly called his parents in Hyderabad, who advised him to keep his feet on the ground and do his best.
“My parents were thrilled,” said Hasnain. “They have advised me to be humble and do my best, and I will follow that advice.”
The tall, earthy complexioned Hasnain started playing at an early age. Hyderabad region coach Iqbal Imam spotted his talent and has seen his progress over the years
“Hasnain played Under-16 and Under-19 for Hyderabad, and right from the start his pace has been impressive,” recalled Imam, a former first-class cricketer who had played alongside Inzamam-ul-Haq, Waqar Younis, Basit Ali and Mushtaq Ahmed for UBL.
“Hasnain is a product of the Pakistan Cricket Board’s age-group cricket,” said Imam.
Hasnain was selected by Islamabad United last year, but an injury ruled him out from the HBL PSL 2018. He made his first-class debut for PTV against Multan in September last year and picked up three wickets while his second and last match to date went wicket-less.
This year, Quetta Gladiators picked him as their 21st player. Since then, he has become number-one as far as the emerging talent is concerned.
Hasnain’s Gladiators’ team-mate Shane Watson said he was instantly impressed.
“He (Hasnain) is someone incredibly fast and who has incredible skill and we will see a hell of a lot of him in the coming days. He did a great job for Quetta,” said Watson, who has played many fast bowlers in his illustrious career for Australia.”
Former great Waqar Younis sees himself in Hasnain.
“Yes, I had the same pace and vigour at this age,” said Waqar. “He is very talented, has pace and bounce and the determination. I have told him not to lose his pace, which is his strong point.
"I wish him the best of luck.”