Decades ago, it took a Pakistani one Sharjah six to beat India in a last-over thriller. On Wednesday night, it took a Pakistani two Sharjah sixes to down Afghanistan, who refused to fade away without a fight of their lives.
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.
“I told Hasnain, give me your bat as my bat isn’t that good,” Naseem told in a video put out by PCB (Pakistan Cricket Board). Hasnain too makes a quick entry into the video, and adds to the story.
“He asked me my bat and I said okay, if you take a single, then give it back to me.” It would have been a lovely gully-cricket image had that transpired. But Naseem walloped two consecutive sixes to finish the game.
— Pakistan Cricket (@TheRealPCB) September 7, 2022
Naseem says he had the belief that he could win 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.”
Afghanistan captain Nabi would say that his instruction to Fazalhaq Farooqi before the last over was to either bowl a yorker or slow bouncer and Farooqi chose yorker but couldn’t land them.
Couple of years ago, former Pakistan captain and Pakistan’s National Cricket Academy director Mudassar Nazar predicted to this newspaper that Naseem has the talent to go “all the way”. He was talking about Naseem’s bowling. “He is the real deal. From what I see, he has everything, it’s up to him now.” From what we have seen at the Asia Cup, Naseem seems more than ready to be a star.