Wasim Akram feels I will emerge as a better cricketer after county stint: Sohail Tanvir

Sohail Tanvir has signed for Hampshire for all three formats this season and he feels that his stint at English club could prove to be pivotal in his career as he looks to cement a place in Pakistan’s limited-over teams © AFP

By Saj Sadiq
Pakistan’s horrendous performance at the ICC Champions Trophy 2013 wasn’t just a huge disappointment for their fans, but also for some of the players who narrowly missed out on selection for the tournament. Seam bowler Sohail Tanvir was one of the players who was overlooked by the selectors for the tournament in England and Wales and tells PakPassion.net in an exclusive interview why he thought the Pakistani batsmen struggled for form at the Champions Trophy.
“It was very disappointing to our team struggle. We had high expectations of the team going into the tournament, especially given Pakistan’s record in previous ICC tournaments. If the batsmen had provided the bowlers with around the 220-run mark, I’m sure the bowlers would have managed to defend those totals. Scores of 170 or so against the best teams in the world aren’t enough. Very rarely that one can defend such totals.
“I think confidence amongst the Pakistani batsmen was low right at the start of the tour. Against Ireland, Pakistan struggled and narrowly managed to win the two-match series. The batsmen looked short of confidence in Ireland and I’m afraid that continued during the Champions Trophy. A rousing victory in Ireland would certainly have helped the Pakistani batsmen prepare for the Champions Trophy, but that never materialised. The warm-up match against South Africa was the highlight of the tour, but unfortunately it proved to be a false dawn.”
Tanvir added: “The batsmen should have taken a leaf out of Misbah-ul-Haq’s book. He [Misbah] batted with responsibility and looked very solid in all conditions and against all of the bowling attacks Pakistan came up against. Unfortunately, the support from some of the other batsmen was minimal. The confidence was low and a number of the Pakistani batsmen struggled for form.”
Regarding his own international future, Tanvir who last played for Pakistan in December last year in a Twenty20 International against India stated, “Playing for Pakistan has always been my priority. Despite playing domestic cricket around the world for various teams, my aim has always been to play regularly for my country. I wasn’t selected for the Champions Trophy and that is a decision that the selectors made and one that I respect. Yes, I was disappointed to miss out on selection for the Champions Trophy, but that is part and parcel of professional cricket. You have ups, you have downs and sometimes you have to take setbacks on the chin and get on with it and look ahead.
“I’m here at Hampshire this season so that I can perform well for them and help the team achieve success and remind the Pakistani selectors that I am still around and knocking on the door of selection. I’ve already made a good start. I can only perform to the best of my ability; it’s then up to the selection committee to make the choices that they feel are in the best interests of Pakistan cricket.”
Tanvir has signed for Hampshire for all three formats this season and he feels that his stint at Hampshire could prove to be pivotal in his career as he looks to cement a place in Pakistan’s limited-over teams.
“I’m honoured to be playing county cricket for Hampshire. Some of the Pakistani greats over the years like Imran Khan, Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis have played county cricket and improved as cricketers after their stints in county cricket. It’s not about coming over to England and just earning money, rather it’s more about the opportunity to learn and develop my cricketing skills. I spoke with Wasim Akram about the chance to play for Hampshire and he said grab it with both hands as it’s a fantastic opportunity. Wasim stated to me that I will definitely come back to Pakistan a better cricketer after a spell in county cricket. I feel that this spell at Hampshire is really crucial in my development as a cricketer and I want to ensure that I make the best of this opportunity.”

Tanvir was one of a number of pace bowlers that worked under the supervision of Wasim Akram at a bowling camp in Pakistan ahead of the Champions Trophy. Talking about the time working with the fast bowling legend, Tanvir stated that Akram’s advice for him was focused more on the mental side of the game and boosting his self-belief and confidence.
“Wasim said to me that I have a lot of ability and that I am good enough to play international cricket. However, what I needed to improve was my self-belief, confidence and my morale which had been affected after being in and out of the Pakistan side. Wasim was very positive about my future and he really helped me focus on the future and to regain my confidence. When one of the best bowlers of all time speaks highly of you, it is definitely going to help you and make you believe in yourself. I’m over here in England with my morale high and playing competitive cricket and looking forward to reclaiming a spot in the Pakistan side once again.”
Tanvir has made an impressive start for Hampshire. He picked up 2 for 95 and scored 37 in a four-day game against Gloucestershire and then on his Yorkshire Bank 40 over debut, he took 3 for 42 as Hampshire defeated Derbyshire by 46 runs.

(Saj Sadiq is Senior Editor at PakPassion.net, from where the above article has been reproduced. He can be followed on Twitter at @Saj_PakPassion)