‘First-class cricket helped me more,’says Hasan Ali

From our correspondent

HARARE: Pakistan’s experienced paceman Hasan Ali has credited first-class cricket which he said has helped him stage a comeback in Pakistan team and deliver there after having stayed away for a couple of years of international action due to multiple injuries.

“My comeback journey was very difficult. I remained out of team for two years due to multiple injuries. I focused on my fitness. The first-class season I played helped me a lot. I carried that performance into the home series against South Africa and then it also helped in South Africa and now on Zimbabwe tour,” Hasan told a virtual news conference.

Hasan claimed nine wickets here on Saturday which helped Pakistan down Zimbabwe by an innings and 116 runs in their first Test of the two-match Test series here at the Harare Sports Club Ground.

“I was at one stage very frustrated and even I had wept once. My wife was with me and my elder brother also motivated me and told me that we can work hard and it is in our hands, results are not in our hands. And that helped me. I pledged to work hard and I vowed that I would make such a comeback which will be remembered by the whole world,” Hasan said. He said that Central Punjab coach Shahid Anwar helped him a lot during the domestic season. “Haji sahib had a big role. When I was picked in the Central Punjab team I told Haji sahib (Shahid Anwar) that I want to stage a comeback to Pakistan team. He kept me motivated and later assigned me the captaincy,” Hasan said. “I did lengthy spells, bowled long with both new and old ball and in different conditions and that was something which helped me a lot,” Hasan said.

“I had worked hard on fitness. Since making first-class debut I had not played again at that stage and this time I got a full opportunity and bowled with great effort and that helped me in comeback to Pakistan team,” Hasan said. About the rest Hasan said it is in the hands of the team management. “It is in the hands of team management. If it gives me rest and gives opportunity to other player or continue with me, it is in the hands of the team management. I will be happy in both cases,” Hasan said.

Hasan also completed 50 wickets during his nine-wicket match-winning haul against Zimbabwe here at Harare. Hasan said that he is missing his new-born daughter Helena but country comes first. “I really miss her and am waiting for a return flight but such sacrifices are given for the country which comes first. He said those youngsters who want to play cricket for long they need to play first-class cricket. “It tests your fitness, skills and temperament,” Hasan said. Hasan believes that his daughter has been a blessing for him. “Yes, she is indeed a blessing. When my wife was pregnant I achieved success in the first-class season and I was picked for South Africa tour at home where I performed. It was followed by a successful South Africa series and now on Zimbabwe tour I have delivered,” Hasan said.

Hasan said he had set small targets and his immediate focus was on the second test. “And after that there will be PSL, and it will be followed by England and the West Indies series. Our team has now settled very much and we will deliver on England tour,” Hasan said.