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November 25, 2006

Pace attack

Is there a twist to Sami's tale?

Kamran Abbasi





Mohammad Sami is a cat who has had his nine lives © AFP
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Mohammad Sami, who most people want to bowl like the wind, has lived through something of a twister in the past few months. He began the England tour as Pakistan's premier (fully fit) fast bowler and ended it as if he had ended his international career. He watched helplessly as he was first overlooked for the Champions Trophy--even once Shoaib and Asif returned in shame--and then was bypassed for the West Indies series. With nowhere to go, Imran Khan's most advocated bowler, hit some form in domestic cricket. In England, Sami had lost his fire and his confidence. But the logic of his late introduction into the squad is that he is certain to play, otherwise why bother?

Sami is a cat who has had his nine lives. This is an unexpected opportunity for the lost Pakistani paceman. His selection, though, sends several signals. First, Sami has been rewarded for a blip of form in domestic cricket. Second, the Pakistan coach and captain have little faith in Samiullah Niazi, else why call up Sami? Third, there is no real talent waiting to burst through and lead the Pakistan bowling attack, else why not experiment now? And finally--and this is a possibility I find most fascinating--perhaps the selectors don't need to blood anybody new because Asif and/or Shoaib will be returning sooner than expected.

Sami, though, needs to send some signals of his own. The smoke that rises from Karachi must say: "I am Mohammad Sami, Pakistan's lost paceman. I have returned with fire in my belly, passion in my heart. My mind is focused, my thinking clear. I will release the shackles that have bound me. I am Mohammad Sami unbound, Pakistan's rediscovered champion. I have returned as Sami the Spearhead not Sami the Sloth. West Indies must beware and Lara will tremble." It might be a long shot but hope is eternal. Is there a final twist to Sami's tale?

Kamran Abbasi is an editor, writer and broadcaster. He tweets here

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by Vinnie on (January 27, 2012, 1:49 GMT)

At last! Soemtnihg clear I can understand. Thanks!

Posted by sher afzal on (April 7, 2007, 14:37 GMT)

A cricketer who plays Gali(street) Cricket in Ajman United Arab Emirates for a few thousand dirham is the so called most talented fast bowler in pakistan. is it not shame & What a charactor he isto play such level of cricket . how did he play without permision from P.C.B . one does not see any international cricketer playing such lowe level of cricket.Was p.c.b sleeping during last ramzan when sami was playing in noght cricket on cement wickets in ajman ,Umul quwain united arab emirates. at least he should thionk of his national pride if not his own future in international cricket before accepting few thousand dirhan offer playing such low level of cricket on cement wicket and P.C.B should ask and ban such players . it is shame that international level cricketer from pakistan take pat in gali cricket , one does see even first class cricketers from other countries playing on this low level.

Posted by Jith R on (December 19, 2006, 23:00 GMT)

Sami was very unlucky in the england tour as caught behind decisions were turned down and the pak wicket keeper cant catch like geriant jones. Sami should just run in and bowl fast. Most of yall say hez over rated. If hez so overrated then how did he take a hattrick in both test and odi. I think Pak coach and higher authorities have not handled him well. Hez a potential match winner for Pakistan

Posted by raheel on (December 11, 2006, 0:02 GMT)

wev gambled with him too mcuh , hes been rubbish since he started , drop him and find talent in the country(not hard to do). call me , i can bowl better than him -slower , but at least i wont have rediculous figures like 10 overs 150 runs for 1 wicket

Posted by Zohaib Khan on (December 4, 2006, 21:03 GMT)

The conundrum that is M. Sami! It is the stupidity of the PCB that a bowler with as much potential as Sami is wasted. Every team has a bowling academy and a coach that works with players, unlike pakistan which recently implemented the system. People doubt his desire and heart, the kid has it all and he is still young. Giving him the oppurtunity to rediscover his touch in the ODI's could be the exact remedy. Players go thru bad patches, look at Inzy. Support him thru thick and thin, which Inzy cannot do. Younis on the other hand is a perfect fit for sami to come and talk to in need for advice. You need experienced senior players to continuously talk to bowlers. Pakistan's history shows that (Imran -> Wasim/Waqar -> Shoaib). Since then there has been no one that could teach and help Sami as we all know that Shoaib works on his own agenda.

Give him a break. Give him a chance. Gamble on him. On his day he is deadly. On his off day help him thru it, support him. Nothin builds an athletes confidence like his team supporting him thru bad patches. Sami can still be an asset to pakistan, provided that they use him properly.

Posted by Aftab Qureshi on (December 3, 2006, 4:07 GMT)

It is true that Sami's record is not good. But all experts agree thathe has potential. If he really has that, then why does the PCB not do anything about it? After all, he bowls almost as fast as Shoaib. Why cant one of our former greats like Wasim and Waqar, if not Imran, work with him to give him back his lost confidence. I suarely put the responsibility for that lost confidence on the captain, the coach and the selectors. In not so distant a past, we discarded a world class bowler like Aqib Javed. Let's not do it to Sami.

Posted by Irteza on (December 2, 2006, 23:54 GMT)

Honestly speaking, Sami was always in the contention for a recall. After Shoaib, who will wane with age, Sami is the only genuine tearaway fast bowler for Pakistan. When Imran Khan holds him in such a high regard, there must be something in the guy! Agreed that he is the biggest underachiever, yet let us not forget that he has all the arsenal to be a genuine fast bowler..He can swing, reverse swing, seam and york at high speeds. All he needs is to rediscover, somehow, the killing edge that has made Shoaib Akhtar a strike-bowler that he is. Yes, I am a very big fan of genuine fast bowling. That also makes me a big fan of M. SAMI. I pray for his success...

Posted by RSN on (November 29, 2006, 22:01 GMT)

Honestly, watching a Pakistani hurl stitched leather across a patch of dirt hitting three wooden spokes at 95 mph is one of the most satisfying sights in the world. So that's one thing Sami's got. Also, it makes no sense to me that someone with the [unfulfilled] talent of Sami is sidelined when someone with no talent [Razzaq] has one of the most cemented places in the side. Let's face it, Razzaq's bowling is worthless and his batting is ugly and inconsistent. Samis probably the only bowler in Pakistan right now that can still produce absolutely unplayable deliveries. Lastly, Sami’s got attitude. It's something Pakistan cricket has been missing since the attitude heydays of Waqar, Miandad and Aamir Sohail (briefly rekindled by Shoaib). Someone's gotta piss off the Australians and bad mouth the Indians. Sami at least streaks his hair once in a while to keep things exciting. Why not man, our cricketers are such bores!

Posted by Sultan on (November 29, 2006, 17:01 GMT)

Well, i think that Sami has been in his prime form about two years ago, against countries like India. Lets not forget, he is the only Pakistani bowler that has been able to keep up with Shoaib's pace, and in ODI he has been extremely destructive. Although i do agree, at this current form he should not have been chosen, but will we be thinking the same after the match against West Indies? His debut match...he took a breathtaking 5 wicket haul! now i think that shows alot...and seeing asif and shoaib's situation at the moment, i think PCD are right in giving more chances to exploit a new sucessful fast bowler to fill in and lead Pakistan - which Sami can do.

Posted by yahya bin suleman on (November 29, 2006, 16:56 GMT)

ohhh come onn guyss.. wat ya people talking about???... he is an attacking bowler..well this is true that he gives much runs but he is a match winning bowler...well u can take the example of wasim akram in 1992 worldcup....he took the most wickets and gave a lots of runs....also in recent exaples of shan bond and brett lee in champions trophy.. they gave lots of runs but took the match winning wickets..he is like them.. a striking bowler

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kamran Abbasi
Kamran Abbasi is an editor, writer and broadcaster. He was the first Asian columnist for Wisden Cricket Monthly and wisden.com. Kamran is the international editor of the British Medical Journal. @KamranAbbasi

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