Home > Features >

ICC World T20 2014: Ahmed Shehzad — Pakistan’s Mr Talented and pillar of strength in the top order

Ahmed Shehzad became the first Pakistani player to score a century in all three formats of cricket © AFP
Ahmed Shehzad became the first Pakistani player to score a century in all three formats of cricket © AFP

 

By R Vishal

 

The ICC T20 World Cup 2014 has seen some batsmen’s reputation cut to ribbons and some coming of age, and Ahmed Shehzad belongs to the latter after a whirlwind unbeaten 111 against Bangladesh, becoming Pakistan’s first T20 centurion.

It is not that it stood apart from any of the other T20 hundreds scored so far but Shehzad’s innings possessed all the attributes that you want from your top order batsmen— courage, determination, a wide array of strokes with a single-minded will to stay there and finish the job that he started. His excellent strike rate is another valuable weapon in his arsenal.

Shehzad has been a stroke maker all his life, right from his Under-19 days when he was penciled to do great things or the kind of fearless rage of shots that was on display, despite being one of the younger member of the Pakistan set-up and an attitude that that oozes a will to win get on top of a bowling attack.

Being drafted into the national team at a tender age of 17 with the team still looking for personnel and big shoes to fill after retirements, match-fixing scandals and horrific terror attack that banned Pakistan from hosting any matches at home, Shehzad was seen as a player with the right kind of technique and mentality to take the team forward in to the next decade.

In the recent past, however, the promise and range of shorts took a backseat and it was the inability to post big scores that took center stage and the knives were out. It came as no surprise that Shehzad successfully turned a corner and got the monkey off his back with the blistering ton — he went on to dedicate the knock to his critics that have been hounding the 22-year-old.

The signs of correcting the minor glitches in the dashing right-hander’s armour were witnessed in the One-day International series (ODI) in Dubai against Sri Lanka. A stellar hundred that put his team on course for a series win and yet another pulsating knock against Bangladesh in the Asia Cup 2014 showed signs of greater consistency and application at the crease.

His strike rate has constantly been on the ascendency and once Shehzad gets his eye in, there are shots that he produces, especially square of the wicket which his special zone that produces lots of runs. For all the Virat Kohli comparisons that is coming in the way of the Lahore batsman, aggression and the adrenaline rush of a battle is a hallmark too. It’s noteworthy that that the opener has scored ODI centuries in South Africa, West Indies and New Zealand as well. .

In this World T20, Shehzad’s reputation has grown further and with Pakistan’s middle-order shedding their ‘brittle’ tag recently to pacing their innings with designated roles for each of them. Umar Akmal and Mohammad Hafeez to build and stay till the last overs, and senior players Shoaib Malik and Shahid Afridi to use the long handle and clear the ropes in the last overs of the innings. A lot is expected from Shehzad at the top of the order.

This sort of calculated block-by-block forethought from the team management has already resulted in posting two huge scores that set Pakistan up for victory. Led by the wizard Saeed Ajmal and the wise calm head of Zulfiqar Babar, Pakistan tied down the Australians despite the carnage from Glenn Maxwell in the middle overs. With an all or nothing game against West Indies coming up, there will be a lot riding on Shehzad to give Pakistan a bright start against the likes of Krishmar Santokie and Sunil Narine.
ICC World T20 2014 Points Table and Team Standings

ICC World T20 2014 Schedule details

(R Vishal is a journalist and an alumni of the Asian School of Journalism. He can be followed on Twitter @vishhell)

West Indies in South Africa, 2014-15

Dec 17, 2014 (14:00 IST)   at Centurion

India tour of Australia, 2014-15

Dec 17, 2014 (05:29 IST)   at Woolloongabba, Brisbane

Pakistan vs New Zealand in UAE, 2014

Dec 19, 2014 (16:30 IST)   at Abu Dhabi

West Indies in South Africa, 2014-15

Dec 26, 2014 (14:00 IST)   at Port Elizabeth

Sri Lanka tour of New Zealand, 2014-15

Dec 26, 2014 (03:30 IST)   at Christchurch

More

Pakistan vs New Zealand in UAE, 2014

Dec 17, 2014  at Abu Dhabi

New Zealand won by 7 runs

England tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Dec 16, 2014  at Colombo

Sri Lanka won by 87 runs

Pakistan vs New Zealand in UAE, 2014

Dec 14, 2014  at Sharjah

Pakistan won by 147 runs

England tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Dec 13, 2014  at Pallekele

Sri Lanka won by 90 runs

Pakistan vs New Zealand in UAE, 2014

Dec 12, 2014  at Sharjah

New Zealand won by 4 wkts

Photos

India vs Australia, 2nd Test at Brisbane

Videos

Steven Smith appointed Australia captain

South Africa vs West Indies,1st Test, Day 2 at Centurion: Van Zyl completes 50 on debut, Amla closing in on 200

Australia 221/4 at stumps against India on Day 2 of 2nd Test at Brisbane

India vs Australia 2nd Test at Brisbane: Maiden wickets, an elusive ton, and other highlights from Day 1

Murali Vijay, Ajinkya Rahane guide India to 311/4 against Australia on Day 1 of 1st Test at Brisbane

Australia India Interviews Ishant Sharma Moments in history Ravichandran Ashwin South Africa

Josh Hazlewood can enter 200-wicket club, says Glenn McGrath

Pakistan vs New Zealand 2014: ODI series win will be major boost for hosts ahead of World Cup, feels Waqar Younis

India vs Australia 2014-15: Shane Watson must convert his starts into big scores, says Michael Slater

South Africa vs West Indies, 1st Test, Day 2 at Centurion: Stiaan Van Zyl scores 50 on debut

Hashim Amla’s unbeaten 178 deflates West Indies

India vs Australia 2nd Test at Brisbane, Day 2: India’s familiar collapse, Umesh Yadav’s heroics and other highlights

Keki Tarapore – India’s manager on the successful West Indies tour of 1971

Shane Watson at No. 3? Australia may want to reconsider

Murali Vijay continues to make impressive progress against Australia

Cheteshwar Pujara’s dismissal: How can cricket eliminate the howler?

Fan of the Day

Suraj Gowda

Suraj Gowda

653 Posts | 10 Fans

India vs Australia: Murali Vijay's 144, Video highlights

प्रसिद्ध कथक नृत्यांगना सितारा देवी नहीं रही

More broadband connections to boost GDP growth in Asia Pacific: GSMA

India is becoming our largest overseas market, Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun says

Bigg Boss 8: Ali Quli Mirza, Renee Dhyani, Upen Patel, Praneet Bhatt, Sonali Raut – who should be evicted this week?

Revealed: The reason why Kishore Kumar’s biopic starring Ranbir Kapoor won’t feature Katrina Kaif!

अभिनेत्री प्रियंका चोपड़ा ने स्वच्छ भारत अभियान में हिस्सा लिया

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here