Yasir Hameed has been out of the Pakistan squad for some time now, having last appeared in an international fixture in 2010 © Getty Images
By Amir Husain
Yasir Hameed is a veteran opening batsman, hailing from Peshawar, Pakistan. He made his Test debut against Bangladesh in Karachi in August 2003, where he scored centuries in both innings. His first innings score of 170 remains the highest score by a Pakistani on Test debut. He went on to play 25 Tests, scoring 1491 runs at an average of 32.41. His ODI debut came against New Zealand at Dambulla in May 2003. He has played 56 ODIs till date, scoring 2028 runs at an average of 36.87.
Touted as a very fine stroke maker and pleasing on the eye, Hameed last played for Pakistan in 2010 and is yet to fulfill his real potential and cement a place in the national team. With a career average of 36.03 in first class cricket where he has also scored more than 10,000 runs, the 36-year-old Hameed remains supremely confident of making yet another comeback into the Pakistan team and in an exclusive interview with PakPassion.net, Hameed spoke about his International career, the recently-concluded training camp, his hopes and ambitions for the future and much more.
Excerpts from an interview:
PakPassion.net (PP): You were recently called up to the training camp in Lahore. How was that experience?
Yasir Hameed (YH): It was a very positive camp and it went very well, Alhamdulillah! It was my comeback camp, so it was of great importance to me. I would like to thank the selection committee, which called me up for the training camp. It gave me a chance to express my talent. Initially, I found the camp very tough, but gradually I started managing it. It gave me the indication as to where I stand. I gained a lot from this camp. These camps are rare, but camps like these before the season can give you a nice jolt in the right direction. There is a lot of positive energy in me. Inshallah, if I am given an opportunity, I will avail it.
PP: Being called up to the camp must have been a boost for your confidence and international hopes?
YS: As I mentioned before, it was a very productive camp and it provided a huge boost to my hopes. I was low in confidence, but now I have received a much-needed boost. Now, I am meeting the level of fitness needed to play international cricket. I am now hoping to make another comeback into the national side. Inshallah, I will be back in the Pakistan team soon.
PP: You’ve always been an excellent fielder, but why is it that Pakistan produces so few world class fielders?
YS: Well, fielding is the only department, which requires a player’s personal interest. With that interest, every player can improve his fielding. Fielding is a very positive aspect of cricket. You can pump yourself up with it. If you’re having an off day in the field, a piece of good fielding can cheer you up. With a sharp effort in the field, you can compensate for any deficiencies in your batting. I always enjoy fielding and pay special heed towards it. I always try to hold on to tricky catches and save a few runs in the field to back the bowler. It’s enjoyable!
PP: Do you think it’s fair to say that you never fulfilled your potential?
YS: Yes, of course, there is no doubt in it. I have certainly not fulfilled the potential I had. I got the opportunities, but I failed to grab them. I must say I have been a bit unfortunate too. I am not a ungrateful person. I am happy in all circumstances. Alhamdulillah, Almighty Allah has blessed me a lot. I have always believed in hard work and if you keep on working hard, you surely attain success. Luck is a factor, but it’s very rare that a player thrives on mere luck. If you don’t work hard and rely on luck only, you are bound to struggle. Maybe, at some point in my career, I didn’t work as hard as I should have and that’s why I failed to fulfil my potential. Nevertheless, I am hopeful and the world lives upon hope.
PP: You played a lot of your time during a period where the selectors were very impatient. That must have been disconcerting?
YS: Yes, that’s a fact. There had been many lapses in selection, when I was still around. I wish we had more people like Moin Khan, Shoaib Mohammad, Ijaz Ahmed and Wajahatullah Wasti as selectors who respect players. and have an eye to pick good players. I have wasted three-four years of my life. I won’t blame anyone, but I would say that selection has been unfair at times.
PP: Is it fair to say that the fitness levels of Pakistani cricketers are below other nations and if so, why?
YS: Yes, that’s true. The reason behind this is that other countries pay special importance to fitness and conduct fitness camps on a consistent basis. The camp we had recently was very pivotal. The importance of that camp was also significant due to the severe conditions in which it was conducted. We need at least three or four such camps a year and if that’s done, our level of fitness will automatically increase. I am sure the PCB would be aware of it and they will implement it ahead of the upcoming World Cup.
I wish we had more people like Moin Khan, Shoaib Mohammad, Ijaz Ahmed and Wajahatullah Wasti as selectors who respect players. and have an eye to pick good players.
My aim is to play for Pakistan in the 2015 World Cup and to play a significant role for Pakistan. There is no such target in mind for the domestic season
PP: Your thoughts on the standard of domestic cricket?
YS: There is no lack of talent in Pakistan. We have some very fine players in our domestic cricket. Everyone knows how talented we are and also about the passion of cricket in our players. There have been improvements made in our domestic cricket and if every player works hard and spends extra time working on his skills, the standard of cricket will improve. We have a very good limited over squad. Indian Premier League has created a lot of hype in India, but talent wise, we are far better than them. The players in our domestic cricket are much more capable than theirs.
PP: Are the changes that the PCB are making for next season, positive changes and will they work?
YS: Yes, they will definitely bring an improvement to domestic cricket. The changes are very positive and I’m looking forward to this new format of gold and silver categories. My department is in the gold category and I’m sure these positive changes will be of great importance to us as well.
PP: Your hopes and aims for the future?
YS: I’m very positive and looking forward to doing well in the future. I am hoping for a comeback into the national side — I’ve not fulfilled my potential but hope for an international return.
My aim is to play for Pakistan in the 2015 World Cup and to play a significant role for Pakistan. There is no such target in mind for the domestic season, but I want to make sure I score as many runs as possible. I want to make use of every opportunity I get and not to throw my wicket away.
(Amir Husain is Senior Editor at PakPassion.net. The above article is reproduced with permission from http://pakpassion.net/)