ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 / News

World Cup 2011

New faces in familiar surroundings

Osman Samiuddin in Hambantota

February 21, 2011

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Uncapped 21-year-old fast bowler Junaid Khan in the nets, Mirpur, February 16, 2011
Junaid Khan took match figures of 9 for 83 for Pakistan A in an unofficial Test against Sri Lanka A in September 2010 © AFP
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Players/Officials: Ahmed Shehzad | Junaid Khan
Series/Tournaments: ICC Cricket World Cup
Teams: Pakistan

Pakistan may have brought some new talent to parade at the World Cup, but two men who could make a name for themselves, arrive with knowledge of conditions in Sri Lanka, where they play all their group matches.

Opener Ahmed Shehzad and fast bowler Junaid Khan - who has yet to play an international - are expected to have an impact for Pakistan through the tournament. Big things especially are expected from the feisty, confident Shehzad, a young man not afraid to play his shots.

Shehzad debuted for Pakistan in the 2009 one-day series against Australia, after working his way through the Under-19 and A team set-ups. The brief blossoming of Salman Butt meant that Shehzad didn't return until the recent tour of New Zealand. A Twenty20 international half-century and a classy one-day century brought him to Sri Lanka in good form and he built on it with a century in the warm-up game against Bangladesh in Dhaka.

"My form is really good at the moment and I hope to carry it on," he said after practice on Monday, ahead of Pakistan's opening game against Kenya on Wednesday, in Hambantota. "Cricket is a funny game and if you stop working hard, then it leaves you. But we're working hard with Vicky bhai [coach Waqar Younis] and Inti bhai [manager Intikhab Alam]. Shahdi [Afridi] bhai is really backing us, and he shares his experience with us, so there's lots of things to learn from them."

Shehzad toured Sri Lanka in the summer of 2009 with Pakistan A and, in five limited-overs games, scored a 96-ball 130, 39 and 91 against an attack that included Lasith Malinga, Thisara Perera and Farveez Maharoof. He scored a couple of fifties in the two unofficial Tests as well, form that has left him confident ahead of the biggest tournament in the game.

"I've been here with the Under-19 and A sides and performed against strong Sri Lankan attacks including Malinga and others. I have that experience and hope to use it this time as well. I just want to score against whichever team I play against and help the side win."

The only player in the squad with experience of playing at the new stadium in Hambantota is Junaid. As part of Pakistan's A side, he played an unofficial Test here in 2010, notching up match figures of 9 for 83, despite losing a low-scoring match.

Junaid was a late replacement for fellow left-armer Sohail Tanvir, just reward for a couple of seasons spent on the fringes of Pakistan selection. "It's a lucky ground for me for that match and another against Sri Lanka's Champions League team, against whom I took five wickets," he said.

Junaid emerged on the junior level at the same time as Mohammad Amir, though he is a vastly different bowler. Wasim Akram has helped him during several pace camps, but it is the other Khan, Imran, who he looks up to. "Wasim helped me out there quite a bit with tips and is obviously an influence but when I started cricket I used to watch Imran Khan videos on Youtube."

Junaid played in the warm-up loss to England in Dhaka, taking three wickets. Depending on the conditions - and given that Shoaib Akhtar is not yet fully fit - he is likely to form part of the pace attack alongside Umar Gul and Wahab Riaz.

Osman Samiuddin is Pakistan editor of ESPNcricinfo

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Comments: 13 
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Posted by Ali on (February 22, 2011, 12:21 GMT)

Shariq Babar - Razzaq is the WORST death bowler in the whole of Pakistan team, do you seriously want him bowling the death overs instead of wahab Riaz who has a pretty decent reverse swinging yorker

Posted by Dummy4 on (February 22, 2011, 12:16 GMT)

@Shafiq Babar We can not drop riaz and gul as they have the sense of death bowling. I would also like to see junaid play. Interesting dilemma. who to drop. Akhtar can be a canidate (God i can not believe i am typing it). but on the other hand if Pak win first three games comfortably and if they have room, i would love to see a pace attack made of shoaib, gul, wahab and junaid against (hold your breath) Australia (Realistically against kiwis) or against SL(If they are feeling blod, It is our second match). I do not know about junaid but rest can bowl at 145 kph/90 mph and reverse swing at that pace in death overs is just wow. Any ways One Day More Till "Cornered Tigers" Roar.

Posted by Syed on (February 22, 2011, 11:43 GMT)

Amir should be write off for good alongwith other culprits, at the moment, Pak got one redundant (Nikama/parchi) player K Akmal, droop him for the rest of matches and give keeping to U Akmal (does'nt matter, the end resultof keeping wont be worst than K Akmal) and play with one specialist bats like A Shafique.Final eleven should be A Shahzad,M Hafeez,Y Khan, A Shafique, M Haq, U Akmal, S Afridi, A Razaq, Gul, J Khan & Wahab Riaz/ Shoaib Akhtar or Saeed Ajmal/A Rehman . Further the startegy of Pak team should be to bat first and set atleast 250+ target and defend with their vibrant and varierty of bowling. Gud luck pak team the nation is backing u guys, play with your best abilities with the strong desire of win and fearless to lose.

Posted by Osama on (February 22, 2011, 11:21 GMT)

Here you go, with a very talented Pakistan Side, We are hopeful for some good results from these youngsters and Inshallah they live up to the expectations of Nation

Posted by Ali on (February 22, 2011, 11:06 GMT)

Shariq Babar - Razzaq is the worst death bowler in the whole of Pakistan team! Do you seriously want him to be bowling the death overs instead of wahab Riaz who has some pretty decent reverse swinging yorkers?

Posted by Dummy4 on (February 22, 2011, 10:37 GMT)

i would say... rest gull and let Junaid a go!

Posted by Sami on (February 22, 2011, 10:06 GMT)

Come on Junaid Khan!! You are in my fantasy team and I do hope you perform exceptionally well. Did anyone else notice?? Junaid Khan in that picture looks abit similar to Zulqarnain Haider.

Posted by Dummy4 on (February 22, 2011, 9:29 GMT)

Pakistan Team is a mixture of experience,youngsters and dangerous players like afridi and abdul razzakh,Best Of Luck Pakistan.Prove it ur the best team...!!

Posted by mani on (February 22, 2011, 9:04 GMT)

I have seen him bowling. He looks fimiliar to aamir. Lets hope he can give us some smiles. Ahmed on the other hand is simply awesome, Pakistan were desperate to have an attacking opener since ages. He will score and score big and fast in world cup IA.

All the best

Posted by Irfan on (February 22, 2011, 9:01 GMT)

Ahmed Shehzad has some serious talent, lets hope he can show it to the world.

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Osman SamiuddinClose
Osman Samiuddin Osman spent the first half of his life pretending he discovered reverse swing with a tennis ball half-covered with electrical tape. The second half of his life was spent trying, and failing, to find spiritual fulfillment in the world of Pakistani advertising and marketing. The third half of his life will be devoted to convincing people that he did discover reverse swing. And occasionally writing about cricket. And learning mathematics.
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