August 26, 2001

Taufiq hopes to justify his selection

Promising Taufiq Umer Saturday said he would try to justify his selection and hoped that he would not prove to be a 'onematch' wonder. Shortly after being named in the Pakistan squad for the Asian Test Championship match against Bangladesh , the soft-spoken opener said: "I have no words to thank the selectors and the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) who showed trust and confidence in me."

Taufiq said he knew the tough task which lay ahead but hoped that if he continued his hard work, his efforts would not go in vain. "I always had the confidence that if I worked hard, I would be rewarded.

"I know I will be in a company of and great players. But I will not be over-awed. Instead I will try to impress them and learn as much as I can. One thing I am sure of is I will be considered part of the team because the senior players supported and backed me a lot during the training camp,"Taufiq said.

Taufiq said he was looking forward to capitalize on his form and cement his place in the team. "I think I am timing the ball well and it can't be a better time to play a big innings very early in the career if I am played at Multan. My feet are still on ground as it is just the beginning."

The 20-year-old lad from Lahore has played 29 first-class games in which he has scored 1,737 runs at 36.18 with three centuries and 10 half centuries. Taufiq, who was born on June 20, said he came to know about his selection after he had been dismissed. "Frankly speaking, the delight of being selected for the Test was more than scoring a century. But naturally, the century had its own significance and importance.

"I think I have improved a lot as a player in the National Cricket Academy where I received some excellent tips from the coaches, including Mudassar Nazar and Geoffrey Boycott. Many may not like or disagree with the idea of the academy but I know how much I have benefited from it," he said.

Taufiq is tied for the second opener's slot with Imran Nazir as Saeed Anwar looks an automatic selection. If current form is the criterion, Taufiq will upstage Imran but if Waqar Younis prefers a left and right hand combination, Imran Nazir might get in. However, Pakistan's one of the most successful openers in recent times have been the combination of two left-handers - Saeed and Aamir Sohail.