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Two years ago, Pakistan’s selectors put their faith in two young batsmen who had been scoring heavily in domestic cricket. Today, both these batsman – Azhar Ali and Asad Shafiq – are a permanent features of Pakistan’s Test team and have become vital cogs in a strong middle-order for Pakistan.
The time has come for another young batsman to be selected; it’s time to bring Haris Sohail into the Pakistan team. The 23-year-old left-handed batsman from Sialkot made his First-Class debut in 2007 at the age of 18. His shot to prominence, however, when he represented Zarai Taraqiati Bank Ltd, for the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy, in the 2010-11 season when he amassed 653 runs in 11 matches at an average of 54.4. His tally included five 50s and a century – including an unbeaten 211, his highest First-Class score.
Sohail maintained good form in the following season (2011-12) as well where he was the fourth- highest run-scorer in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy with 873 runs in 11 matches at an average of 51.4. He smashed four centuries that season along with four 50s.
During the same season, Haris was also one of the leading run scorers for the Pentangular Cup where he represented Punjab and smashed 311 runs in five matches at an average of 44.4 scoring one century and one 50 in the process.
Haris has been exceptional this season as well. In the ongoing President’s Trophy, Haris has hit his third successive century. He missed the first three games of the season as he was away for the Champions League and on personal leave, but since his return in the game against WAPDA, Haris has been in super form.
In the six innings that Haris has played in the President’s Trophy thus far, he has scores of 115 not out, 58 not out, three, 117 not out, 120, and five.
Sohail was selected for Pakistan’s tour of Sri Lanka earlier this year, but didn’t get a chance to play. The comfort we can derive from it is the fact that this showed that at the very least he is on the selectors’ list of potentials.
However, that may not be enough; it is now time that he is seriously considered as a long-term feature in Pakistan’s middle-order and potentially the long term replacement for Misbah-ul-Haq or Younis Khan.
It will be difficult for him to break into the Test team while both Misbah and Younis are around, though he can benefit aplenty by being around the team as part of the squad on the tours to India and South Africa.
His time is now and the selectors will do well by picking him first for the One-Day Internationals against India and then for the Test tour to South Africa early next year.
(Umair Qazi, popularly known as Q in the world of cricket blogging, has been a passionate cricket fan over two decades. An eternal optimist when it comes to Pakistan cricket and since 2007 his optimism has been flowing in his posts on his cricket blog known as Well Pitched. Umair has worked in the consulting and investment banking world in the past and currently he is pursuing his MBA in Manchester. The above article is reproduced with permission from www. http://tribune.com.pk/)
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