Naseem Shah and Mohammad Hasnain
Naseem Shah and Mohammad Hasnain (Image Credits: Twitter)

In this Asia Cup, Naseem Shah has drawn a lot of attention. But it resulted from his dexterity with the ball when playing for Pakistan in his first T20I against India. In the absence of the seasoned Shaheen Shah, Naseem, who had already established himself as a quality Test bowler, entered the competition under pressure to carry the bowling load. 

However, Naseem’s batting that night, with Pakistan’s Asia Cup campaign on the line, made a lasting impression on the competition. When Naseem exited as the No. 10 hitter, Pakistan had stumbled to 110 for 8 in 18.2 overs in response to Afghanistan’s 129.

He saw as Asif Ali made a tremendous hit to cut the gap to six runs, but fell on the very next delivery, leaving Pakistan nine runs down and requiring 12 runs off of seven.

Naseem Shah
Naseem Shah. Pic Credits: Twitter

The Belief Was There That I Can Do It: Naseem Shah

With Naseem on strike against FazalHaq Farooqi, that changed to 11 off of 6. Up until Farooqi mishandled two attempted yorkers and sent full tosses instead, which Naseem deposited for two straight sixes to throw the Pakistan dugout into a frenzy, Afghanistan were in control. 

And it turns out a changed bat helped Naseem Shah to flex his muscles. 

When the last man Mohammad Hasnain was with him, Naseem asked for his bat. 

Naseem Shah
Naseem Shah & Hasan Ali. Pic Credits: Twitter

“I told Hasnain, give me your bat as my bat isn’t that good,” Naseem stated in a PCB-produced video (Pakistan Cricket Board). Hasnain also briefly appears in the video and contributes to the narrative. 

“He asked me my bat and I said okay, if you take a single, then give it back to me,” If it had happened, it would have made for a magnificent gully-cricket picture. But to end the game, Naseem smacked two straight sixes. 

Naseem said he had confidence in his ability to triumph in the game. 

“The belief was there that I can do it. I knew they would try bowling yorkers and I was ready. When I went to bat, I just wanted to give singles to Asif [Ali] Bhai. But I am confident on my batting as I have been training in nets.” 

Naseem Shah. PC- Getty
Naseem Shah. PC- Getty

Before the last over, Fazalhaq Farooqi was given the option of bowling a yorker or a slow bouncer, which he picked but failed to land, according to Afghanistan skipper Nabi. 

A few years ago, Mudassar Nazar, the head of Pakistan’s National Cricket Academy and a former captain of Pakistan, told this publication that Naseem had the potential to “go all the way.” Regarding Naseem’s bowling, he was speaking. “He is the real deal. From what I see, he has everything, it’s up to him now.”  

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