All-rounder was sidelined for the Zimbabwe tour with injury after being in fine form
Fit again all-rounder Anwar Ali is eager to continue from where he left off — delivering a match-winning performance for Pakistan along with Imad Wasim as the duo sealed a thrilling one-wicket win in the last T20I against Sri Lanka in Colombo two months back.
The 27-year-old missed the subsequent tour of Zimbabwe after suffering a groin injury as he was risked in the domestic T20 tournament final by Karachi Blues in their bid to win their maiden title. However, he was unable to guide his side to the trophy as they lost to an impressive Peshawar side.
Anwar was named only in the ODI squad as the selectors had hoped he would get fit in time. However, the 27-year-old decided to rest rather than risk further aggravating the injury in a bid to rush his return.
1st ODI: Six-star Yasir, unbeaten Rizwan lead Pakistan to 131-run victory over Zimbabwe
With his stock at an all-time high after the 17-ball 46 against Sri Lanka, Anwar said that he wants to carry on in the same vein of form against England as well.
“It’s frustrating to sit out with an injury when you have just produced a memorable performance, so I want to return quickly and continue from where I left against England,” Anwar told The Express Tribune at the National Stadium, where he is representing Karachi Whites against Wapda in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy.
“After a man-of-the-match performance in my ODI debut, I was struggling to produce a similar kind of performance but got my confidence back on the tour of Sri Lanka,” added the all-rounder. “As a player you want to play and carry on your form. I want to become a consistent performer for Pakistan as there is no better feeling than winning matches for your country.”
Apart from his explosive batting, Anwar has impressed with his athletic fielding — something not usually associated with fast-bowlers.
Anwar Ali dropped from ODI squad against Zimbabwe over poor fitness
Anwar and Mohammad Rizwan have improved Pakistan’s fielding standards drastically and he says that the whole unit is enjoying this aspect of their game. “There are new legs in the side and thus our fielding has improved,” said the opening bowler. “The team management has been working really hard on fielding and most of the players are now enjoying it.”
In his U19 days and early first-class cricket phase, Anwar possessed a deadly inswinger and used to be a prolific wicket-taker. But ever since his inswinger has forsaken him, wickets have become increasingly hard to come by, with only 13 wickets in 17 ODIs and six in 11 T20Is to his name.
Anwar, however, is not worried by his lack of penetration, claiming that he has made peace with his shortcomings. “I know my limitations as a bowler and try to bowl according to the plan given to me by the captains and the coach,” he said. “Shahid Afridi, Azhar Ali and Waqar Younis are backing me to deliver and have even asked me to bowl with the new ball. All I want to do is to fulfil the expectations my team has from me.”
Published in The Express Tribune, October 28th, 2015.
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