Sunday, January 22, 2012

Sami Aslam Exclusive Interview

Where did you start your career?

Sami: I started my career in 2006 in Punjab and gave U15 trials in 2008

Were you always a batsman?

Sami: I have always been an opening batsmen throughout my cricketing career

Who is the person who coached you?

Sami: Right from the beginning my father had coached me right until now. Anis Siddiqui coached me at the club level. Kamran Khan coached me when I was at the U16s

At the youth level, not only Internationally, how is the coaching structure for youth?

Sami: I personally think in Pakistan there is now a strong coaching structure which is vastly improving day by day

Who was / is your hero?

Sami: As a left hander batsmen myself I really liked Adam Gilchrist, but nowadays it's India's World Cup winning late middle order dasher Suresh Raina, although I don't really consider him a hero of such, but I like his batting style

How does it feel to represent Pakistan Under 19, especially at the age of 16?

Sami: It is without a shadow of doubt a great feeling and honour and my foremost desire right from the start. Now that I am performing well, I am looking forward to playing for the Pakistan senior team in the not too distant future

How was the experience of playing in South Africa? Did it teach you a lot about your technique against seam and bounce?

Sami: Yes, it is a great experience as the pitches and overhead conditions are different to those pitches which we have been brought up on back in Pakistan and one has to work extremely hard to adjust to the bounce and seam we encounter in these pitches. It's a very challenging experience

You had a splendid tournament and performed really well with the bat, how satisfying was this?

Sami: By the grace of Allah SWT I have been able to perform well on my debut tour with the Pakistan Under 19 squad which brings a great deal of satisfaction as I was confident in myself right from the start that I will perform well

Do you believe, Pakistan have a good chance to win the Under 19s World Cup later this year?

Sami: I don't think, I am sure Pakistan will put on a top show

Apart from yourself, Babar Azam and Usman Qadir (players that are commonly known) who else are the players to watch out for?

Sami: Umar Waheed and Zia ul Haq are two really talented players we have and both are genuine match winners for us

What are your personal goals in the short and long- term?

Sami: In the short team it's all about performing well for Pakistan under 19s,especially in the Under 19 World Cup in Australia later this year and play my part in making Pakistan champions in the tournament. From there on I want to make it to the senior side and really grab my chance with both hands and perform well for my country

You mentioned Gilly, Raina as players you like, but both of these are from other nations so don’t any of our home grown talent inspire you? We have also produced many stylish or successful left handed top order batsmen and middle order batsmen with the likes of Saeed Anwar, Aamir Sohail, Taufeeq Umar, Asim Kamal etc. Don’t any of these names inspire you who went on to have successful careers? Have you watched footage of these players, particular Anwar who was a genius with those magical wrists for finding the gaps? He’s usually a role model for young openers, particularly left handers in this part of the world?

I liked a particular left hander who scored a century in Kolkata in 2004 in one of his first ODIs and was the player of the series in the 2008 Kitply tri series between Pakistan, Bangladesh and India. He favoured the off side and square cut deliveries to the fence with authority. He captained Pakistan to a historical test win against Australia after 15 years at Leeds in 2010. He was also Pakistan’s leading run scorer in the 2010 World T20 Championship. The clues are there. I liked him, but it’s hard to take his name now for obvious reasons as I’m sure you understand. From the current team there isn’t anyone though. Saeed Anwar is of course a legendary act, but unfortunately did not see too much of him.

Outside cricket do you have any other interests and hobbies?

Yes, swimming, but due to time constraints I can’t do too much of it to be

How do you manage education? Are you still studying or is the emphasis totally on cricket now?

I am studying in GC University Lahore and have recently gone in to the 2nd year. I don’t get much time to study properly, but still manage to pass exams with my good school time study.

You’re most memorable performance up till now at any major level?

169 and 78 against WAPDA in a 3 day match 2011
104* in semi final 2011
112 against South Africa in my 2nd youth ODI 2012

You haven’t had domestic experience as of yet? Do you feel this gives you a disadvantage playing youth ODIs without any domestic experience as many players already have a fair bit of domestic exposure before playing at the youth level for their country?

Not really as I performed well in the U19 triangular series and went on to become the player of the tournament so I don’t think it’s a disadvantage.

Every batsman has strengths and weaknesses. As a batsman I’m sure you will know that it’s important that you understand your strengths and weaknesses properly in order to bring the best out of you. What do you consider the 3 greatest strengths about your batting so the audience can learn a bit more about you? What makes you stand out from ordinary or average openers?

1) Temperament to build a long innings and chase down a bigger score
2) I’m naturally attacking and can utilise the power play up front
3) I have all the shots in the book from the cut, pull, drive

Where do you see yourself in let’s say about 5 years time?

In 5 years time I seemyself as the best batsmen at international level representing Pakistan with pride

Where do you usually field and how do you rate yourself as a fielder?

I am a very good fielder and currently field in the slips during the recently concluded U19 tour of South Africa. I also can field at cover and point. I field in key positions and am always in the action.

Any message for the readers?

Sami: Message is simple. Support our side in good and bad times and keep boosting our confidence

Thanks for your time Sami

Sami: No problem, pleasure

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