New Zealand v Pakistan, World T20 2012, Group D, Pallekele September 23, 2012

Jamshed bridges Pakistan gap

He may be just 22, but Nasir Jamshed has the blend of assurance and aggression to flourish in all formats

One day, Nasir Jamshed could become the missing link between Umar Akmal and Azhar Ali among men who carry Pakistan's batting into the future: the bridge between flair and fortitude, between roulette and rock. He is that rare young Pakistan batsman who contains the two contrasts within him, and yet seems natural. The kind whose hitting does not appear to be desperate. The kind whose defence does not appear to be sedate.

This was a Twenty20 international all right, but the blend of assurance and aggression suggested again that he should probably be playing in the top order across all three formats for Pakistan in time to come. He has a solid defence and is also a quite competent and eager puller, which he showed when he deposited the seriously quick Adam Milne over deep fine leg for six.

The brawn and the clip to midwicket have brought comparisons with Graeme Smith, but on Sunday, Jamshed displayed his variety on the off side. His wrists put so much timing on two Nathan McCullum deliveries that both sailed over for six over the deep extra cover rope. No wonder former Pakistan captain and commentator Ramiz Raja called his 56 the "most cultured knock" of the World Twenty20 so far.

Jamshed has given enough demonstration of his unique talent in his short international career, which has already seen him suffer injuries, get dropped and make a comeback. The first phase, as an 18-yeard old in 2008, started and ended with a brace of fifties, including one against India. He was out for nearly three years before forcing his way back for the Asia Cup in March through performances on the domestic circuit and in the Bangladesh Premier League. Since then, he averages more than 50 in ODIs, and has already had three century opening stands in seven games with fellow opener Mohammad Hafeez, including 224 against India in the Asia Cup.

Hafeez, the Pakistan T20I captain, was sitting on the sidelines of Jamshed's post-match press conference, watching the young batsman soak in the admiration from the media. Jamshed, who comes across as a grounded man, spoke with a boyish happiness that betrayed that he is still well short of turning 23.

"I really enjoyed batting with the captain, Hafeez," Jamshed said. "The kind of confidence I got from the captain, I want to have partnerships like the one I had with him today. I am the captain's choice and I am enjoying it here. He has given me a lot of confidence." Hafeez smiled broadly in satisfaction at these words, a captain silently acknowledging his part in the coming good of a talented tyro.

Jamshed was asked about the various strokes he played in his innings. "I am a stroke player that is why I am playing shots like these," was his simple answer in English, before he explained further in Urdu. "From when I started batting I was never scared of anything, whether it is opposition bowlers or pressure. I just try to handle the pressure and enjoy my game. I just go out there and shuru ho jaata hoon [just start playing]."

He made it sound too simple but at 22, Jamshed already knows what it takes to regain a place in the side. "I was confident while coming back as everyone was saying that when Nasir Jamshed comes back he'll be an important player," Jamshed said. "I have improved my game and today I showed those skills in the match.

"We just wanted to stick to our plans despite the loss of wickets. I wanted to control the game because I was the set batsman at the time. I wanted to take as much of the strike as possible and score as much as I can." Control the innings. Set batsman. Mature terms to use at 22. He could be the missing link after all.

Abhishek Purohit is an editorial assistant at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on September 25, 2012, 18:01 GMT

    @Ubaidaleem: You could have easily guessed that 29 was a typo for 39. So Inzi's avg was 39 while Nasir's is 42. Happy now? :)

  • Dummy4 on September 25, 2012, 17:47 GMT

    @krishkrish: I thought you had read the reply to that! As someone ALREADY pointed out, Nasir wasn't facing a 120kph stock bowler from the Ranji trophy when his teammates were playing Starc, right before the worldcup! As for Steyn, Steyn at Lanka can't be as lethal as Steyn in his natural habitat. At any rate, I recall Pakistan handling him quite comfortably in 2010. InshAllah, we will overcome all the Steyns and Starcs, and just when we most need them, our bowlers will get back to their lethal tiny total saving best.

  • Srikkandh on September 25, 2012, 17:08 GMT

    He keeps reminding me of a young graeme smith

  • Dummy4 on September 25, 2012, 14:16 GMT

    @Muhammad Fahim Hassan. I think you are confusing Raxa Abbas reply to my comment as my comment. Go read my comment again. I am the person with most post on Afridi defence on this forum :)

  • Dummy4 on September 25, 2012, 12:42 GMT

    @Qazi Hassan, you say Afridi is an average player! sounds you are well aware of cricket and then you blame him that you cant gaurantee that he performs in every match! nice comments,, can you pls delegate me only one player and i mean it just only one player whom you can gaurantee that he will perform! Grow up,,better learn cricket before commenting..

  • I on September 25, 2012, 10:17 GMT

    He looks a solid opener, but I wouldn't get too carried away just yet. He's very young and has only really played on good surfaces against weak bowling attacks like India, Australia and New Zealand. Hopefully he'll keep playing plenty of first-class cricket and get a test spot soon, especially if Taufeeq Umar continues to flounder

  • krishnan on September 25, 2012, 9:57 GMT

    @Qazi hasan :- Nasir played all his matches in asia only. PLEASE DONT COMPARE HIM WITH KOHLI, I am not a fan of Kohli . Still i can say virat is much better player than nasir. Unfortunately Pakistan doesnt have Batsmen like inzi or Anwar. Like how India struggles for bolwers, pak will struggle for batsmen. Lets C in super eights and semifinals. how much he scores against Steyn and Starc.

  • Ubaid on September 25, 2012, 5:23 GMT

    Inzamam's ODI average @ 29 !dude where did that come from, you are already on cricinfo all you need to do is check the profile before hastily jumping on to the comment section. Nasir is good talent let us hope he continues his good work for as long as Inzi did....

    I liked your energy though!

  • Dummy4 on September 25, 2012, 4:21 GMT

    obousely jamshaid is a great player but still the pcb fails to utalise him on his natural position. haffez should have left the open space for him

  • Dummy4 on September 24, 2012, 21:28 GMT

    @qazi hasan:- i second u :) but just wana ask one ques what pcb have done wrong with afridi he is just a avg player and a overated person thats it :) even u cant expect from him to perform in every matches

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