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Nasir Jamshed

'I have learnt the value of my wicket'

Nasir Jamshed says three years outside the national team taught him plenty about his game. He is now gearing up for his biggest challenge - a tour to South Africa

Interview by Umar Farooq

January 21, 2013

Comments: 36 | Text size: A | A

Nasir Jamshed plays a drive, Pakistan v Australia, 2nd T20I, Dubai, September 7, 2012
"I can't afford to be complacent anymore since I am in a situation where teams will have done their homework on me" © AFP
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How do you feel about your successful series in India?
There is a unique thrill and passion involved in Pakistan-India matches. I am proud of how I did there. I enjoy playing against India, and every time I have played them, at the Under-17 or U-19 level or for the national team, I have scored runs.

All your three hundreds have come against India, and most of your runs too.
Playing against India is very important, not only for a player but also for fans. The one who performs well against them is an unforgettable hero. The Indian crowds are very supportive towards their team. They clap hard, shout hard, hoot a lot, and sometimes become hostile towards the opposition. Every single voice within the stadium is against you. That increases the pressure on you. The only way to be heard in such a crowd is to overwhelm them with your performance.

I talked to myself, kept my nerves calm and waited for my turn to perform. I enjoyed that. I really wanted them to be quiet and feel the pressure I did on the field.

You spent nearly three years away from the national team after an impressive start to your international career. Why did it take so long to come back?
I was distracted and lacked a basic awareness of cricket. I was a raw cricketer. I was a talented batsman but my goals were all blurred. I was immature, didn't know the tactics of playing according to the conditions, didn't know how to tackle scoreboard pressure, and I struggled to convert fifties into hundreds. I did manage to play international cricket in 2008 but didn't improve, so I was pushed back into the wilderness.

I regret not keeping myself in the best shape. Had I maintained myself earlier, those years might not have been wasted. Perhaps I wasn't serious about my cricket and life was moving ahead unplanned.

But I think there may have been some good to it. Since I wasn't settled three years ago, it brought the best out of me. It took time, but I am now an improved batsman, and the process of learning never stops.

I worked hard, especially on my fitness, and now I am more consistent with the bat. I have grown a lot more mature than before and now have an assured place in the side. I can't afford to be complacent anymore since I am in a situation where teams will have done their homework on me. I have to think ahead and give them nothing.

How do you maintain your fitness when you are not playing?
Cricket is my life and my ultimate priority right now. When I return from any tour, I spend a day or two with family and then head to the academy to start my demanding routine, just like any office-going person starts his day in the morning and returns home in the evening. I am here all day, practising and training under the specialist trainer and coaches. I do enjoy stuff outside cricket, like socialising with friends, but most of my friends are also cricketers, so in every way I end up with cricket.

Who were the people who helped you build your career?
My brother Yasir and a friend, Kashif Siddiq. Choosing cricket as a career isn't a straightforward business in Pakistan, but seeing my infatuation with the game, my brother chose it for me. He would take me to the ground when I was about ten or 11. I was never allowed to watch TV, because he thought it might affect my eyesight. He developed a strict routine for me. I had to sleep around 9pm, because we had to get up early for a morning practice session at the Muslim Model School's nets at Minto Park. In the afternoon, I went to the Ludhiana cricket club.

"In India, where conditions are never easy, my target was to stay at the crease throughout the 50 overs. It tested my temperament and fitness, but when you have settled, you start enjoying it. Now I can easily shift gears to Test cricket"

You parents emigrated to the US when you were young. Why did you choose to stay back?
It's mainly because I don't like it there. I have a lot of friends and I love spending time with them. I had limited social contacts and friends in the US. Apart from that, I have a future in cricket in Pakistan. When I was in the US in 2006, I got a call from the PCB about my selection for the U-19 World Cup. Things started to turn my way so quickly in cricket that I never gave a thought to returning to my parents. I live here in Lahore with my sister and my brother mostly.

You haven't batted outside the subcontinent so far. Do you think the real test for you will be the upcoming tour to South Africa?
There is a big gap between an average player and a world-class player. A world-class player can adapt himself to any condition within no time. I haven't played outside the subcontinent so far in my career, so I am yet to face a tough bowler. The South Africa series, without a doubt, will be my first real test. I am prepared to face the world-class bowlers in their backyard. They are the No. 1 team, have the best fast bowlers, and I am desperate to face them.

After success in limited-overs cricket, do you think you are ready for Test cricket?
Test cricket is what every player dreams about. I have done well in limited-overs cricket so far, and I'm ready for the Test challenge. As a batsman, adapting to a lengthy format isn't a big thing. I have all the strokes and am working on my defence to make it more sound. Test cricket requires a lot of mental strength and fitness. I can't claim to have achieved these but I am improving.

In India, where conditions are never easy, my target was to stay at the crease throughout the 50 overs. It tested my temperament and fitness, but when you have settled, you start enjoying it. Now I can easily shift gears to Test cricket.

Pakistan's opening slots have been unsettled since Saeed Anwar and Aamer Sohail retired. Do you think you can serve Pakistan for long in that role?
I don't rate myself that high at the moment. There is plenty to learn and it's an ongoing process. I know people have started comparing me to some former great batsmen, but they have to be patient and give me some time. To be compared with the likes of Saeed Anwar and Aamer Sohail is huge. It takes time to reach that level. I have just reclaimed my place in the side and want to concentrate on strengthening my position.

I have played with various openers, but we are yet to find a permanent one in all forms of the game. But whether it's Ahmed Shahzad, Kamran Akmal or Mohammad Hafeez, I am comfortable with all of them. We have opened at the domestic level. What is important is to know your plan. As an opener my role is clear: to score runs. The objective is to help my team, and the style is to play hard.

People say you are a safe batsman at the top, and one with sound technique when compared to most batsmen at the domestic level. How do you see yourself?
I have learnt the value of my wicket and I am afraid of losing it. You might have observed that I normally don't walk down the track for runs. Instead, I play my shots while standing inside the crease.

It didn't come naturally. I mastered it to reduce my chances of getting out. If you walk down the track, you give the bowler a chance to get you out. It can sometimes help to unsettle a bowler's line and length, but you could also get trapped. So as an opener, I think I have all the control to execute my shots by manipulating myself within the crease.

Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by mehtab.noman on (January 24, 2013, 8:25 GMT)

There is no doubt that he is the best batsman to play fast bowling but I think he should increase his skill to play the spin...he preffered to stay on back foot and uses sweep to play spin but he should learn how to reach the pitch of the ball and how to play in V area to get singles agaist spin got to attack the spinner to alter his length..when you play a spinner with straight bat he feel frustated but back foot and sweep always keep the spinner interested...when he will do that may b Inzi can help him in this regard, he is defenitely will reach the class of Saeed anwar the best bastman for spin pakistan has ever produced may be in the world ...he will definetly score good against SA coz he is against fast bowling..... I would see him emerging as the most talented opening bastman in world cricket.... Good luck!

Posted by Crick_Expert on (January 24, 2013, 2:15 GMT)

Nasir Jamshed is a great and talent opening batsman in Pak. Cricket Team. I will say; We got another batsman like legand Saeed Anwar. Good Luck to NJ, cricket world would like to see him in action for long time. No doubt Nasir Jamshed will be #1 batsman in cricket world soon.

Posted by Drzeeshanafzal on (January 22, 2013, 20:47 GMT)

There is no doubt that he is the best batsman to play fast bowling but I think he should increase his skill to play the spin...he preffered to stay on back foot and uses sweep to play spin but he should learn how to reach the pitch of the ball and how to play in V area to get singles agaist spin got to attack the spinner to alter his length..when you play a spinner with straight bat he feel frustated but back foot and sweep always keep the spinner interested...when he will do that may b Inzi can help him in this regard, he is defenitely will reach the class of Saeed anwar the best bastman for spin pakistan has ever produced may be in the world ...he will definetly score good against SA coz he is against fast bowling..... I would see him emerging as the most talented opening bastman in world cricket.... Good luck!

Posted by sohailus on (January 22, 2013, 16:26 GMT)

He played awesome against India that's for sure. Every1 will be agree on that. In my point of, PCB send him SA to groome. He will not be able to get a single game in test match because Taufeeq Umar & Mohammad Hafeez is already in the squad as openner. I don't think team will use NJ as openner. Incase of somebody get injured. Azhar is for one down for sure then YK, Misbah & AS. Definately, he will b the first pick for ODI & T20.

Posted by Aragorn_11 on (January 22, 2013, 12:26 GMT)

anyone saying Jamshed will struggle with swing because Kumar bowled Jamshed through the gate in the FIRST T20 game....he faced him for 4 more games after that...and we all saw what he did then....the man adjusted well...Kumar was a new talent for India, but once seen by Pakistani batsmen they adjusted well...they have ample footage of Steyn, Morkel, Philander and Kallis...under Dav Whatmore, I'm sure they would be studying and put through the paces to face the swing, pace and teams today don't just rock up to face annihalation...preparation is key, temperament and a bit of luck is vital...but I'm confident they will put on a good performance (as they have since 2010 and spot fixing scandal). Judging by comments from Pakistan camp the team seems hungry for success driven by lack of cricket in the homeland, watch out for an epic battle! Pakistan Zindabad!!!!

Posted by t20-2007 on (January 22, 2013, 9:53 GMT)

next Inzi...and NEXT man to be run-out in every match ..just looking at his fitness

Posted by   on (January 22, 2013, 9:32 GMT)

first congrats to Nasir for his recent success.i have been going through the comments most of people were looked jealous.i have been following him from first class career and found improvement in his every innings.want to tell the man KEEP ON DRILLING YOUR OPPONENTS and work hard

Posted by ABLcric on (January 22, 2013, 5:50 GMT)

He is the mirror image of Inzi. Watch closely. The way he lifts his bat and uses his footwork. he has enough time while playing a shot. Just like Inzi. Physically, he also looks like young Inzi.He is simply "left handed Inzi" Now, he has to work hard and prove that he can be like Inzi. Looooong way to go!!!

Posted by Dannov747 on (January 21, 2013, 23:41 GMT)

He's an odd player to watch. He's a good batsmen, a solid technique and at times even graceful, but overall I don't see him being the next big thing. The way Kumar beat him shows that he's going to have a lot of trouble with the swinging ball in Tests.

Posted by bigdhonifan on (January 21, 2013, 22:35 GMT)

Dont compare Jamshed with Virat. Jamshed just started and Virat already scored hundreds in Australia and had a pretty good tour. He even won ICC trophy. Lets see how far Jamshed goes.

Posted by HyderabadiFlick on (January 21, 2013, 21:23 GMT)

In today's cricket anybody can score against India in Asian conditions. I want to read this article in full after SA tour.

Posted by   on (January 21, 2013, 20:47 GMT)

Nasir Jamshed is overrated. He may have had a successful career so far but he will easily be worked out. He's very slow when running so having fielders close by will pressure him and get him out. So far his success has come on slow flat tracks nothing special :P

Posted by Nutcutlet on (January 21, 2013, 18:07 GMT)

I'll be very surprised indeed if Nasir Jamshed doesn't make a successful Test cricketer. He has, so far as I can see, the full set: technique allied to a good eye, temperament, concentration, fitness & a hunger to step up to the premier form of the game. A season playing county cricket in England, or even being a professional in a league side, would be invaluable in his cricketing education at this stage. I never predict the outcome of a match, but I do attempt to spot genuine talent & make tentative predictions. Inch'allah, he will have a great career & I look forward to following his progress.

Posted by mazii on (January 21, 2013, 16:11 GMT)

adidevil... Bro Jamshed's and virat's ODI averages are same and Jamshed's ODI strike rate a bit higher than Jamshed, but you are right that Jamshed is new and Kohli has been scoring runs for quite a long time.

Posted by CricketMaan on (January 21, 2013, 13:58 GMT)

Those blaming Indian crowds, recollect the standing ovation that Wasim, Waqar and Saqlain got in Chennai after winning there? The anger that Kolkatta showed wasnt against SL in that world cup rather Team India and thier disappointing chase. And more recently England also got a standing ovation after thier victory in the Test series. If people want to see only problems, then they get to see only that. Finally, Good on you Nasir, you've made a promising start, now go on and make that position your own.

Posted by adidevil on (January 21, 2013, 13:27 GMT)

@kiwirocker virat kholi is miles ahead of jamshed he has a higher avg than him in all formats despite playing more matches than him nd not to forget a higher strike rate..!!

Posted by Furyss on (January 21, 2013, 12:21 GMT)

gear up for the memories of down under tour 2009-10

Posted by MFNadeem on (January 21, 2013, 11:58 GMT)

Thanks to Imran Farhat, we couldn't select this gem of a player for three years. There was nothing wrong in his technique from the beginning, and he had some decent performances to back him. But.............

Posted by Naseer_shah on (January 21, 2013, 11:44 GMT)

1.Ball will miss the bat outside off stump or will surely edge to keeper/Slip ......and will become dumb idiot/laughing factor for spectators/commentator 2.will be LBW .... TAKE MY WORDS .... it will 200% happen

Please do understand , his batting has too many flaws ... He is late with the bat , stans too high for quicker of Africa to expose his batting technique ...

Posted by xylofon on (January 21, 2013, 9:21 GMT)

As for Nasir Jamshed, good luck! I personally think his place is to come in as nr 3 -even in T20. He looked really nervous those first balls against Kumar in the first T20 and got caught. I think Nasir is the future no doubt, a personal favourite even, but his place is nr 3 whichever the format.

Nasir, if there is any chance you are reading this please understand series are for training too, worldcup and other places are wher you REALLY must excel. Save yourself and your energy - dont take it all out in one go. Use all series to learn and experiment.

Posted by Sports4Youth on (January 21, 2013, 8:47 GMT)

@ Shamsi1982 :- . . I dont agree with you that Sarfraz should be tested at the ODI's first. Sarfraz has a first class batting average or 42 . That is the average of a specialist batsman. It is the best among all wicket keepers in Pakistan. . . Apart from that he has not performed badly in the limited opportunities he got in the one dayers. I think Sarfraz should have been selected at the test level a long time ago, even in the WI tour he should have been in place of Salman Ahmed. I think if he gets a fair opportunity he will definately cement his place in the test side for a long-long time to come.

Posted by warneneverchuck on (January 21, 2013, 8:46 GMT)

Even Pak's best batsman like injmam used to struggle in AUS SA ENG what this guy will do

Posted by Syed_imran_abbas on (January 21, 2013, 8:40 GMT)

a very talented bat and a very thoutful interview. wish you good luck for SA series.

Posted by swingstowin on (January 21, 2013, 8:35 GMT)

I remeber reading Laxmipathi Balaji's interview few daus ago. He mentioned how supporting Pakistani crowd were,and they even pumped him up to take Moin Khan's wicket. And at the other end are the Indian crowd. and @ IMSRK,doesnt matter where our team plays,atleast its winning..remeber the joy of that brother?

Posted by Pathiyal on (January 21, 2013, 7:34 GMT)

serious young cricketer and a good opening partner for hafeez. although a supporter of team India, i loved every moment these duo were batting. as a 23 year old, he is doing extremely well right now - he has the right attitude and temperament. he is one of the rare batsmen who calmly does his job on the field. the best thing is he knows when to pace his innings. wish he will get more exposure and chance, surely he is going to be the one who will be talked about for his match winning performances. wish nasir the very best!

Posted by Shamsi1982 on (January 21, 2013, 7:24 GMT)

All the best Pak but Seems 1 bowler short and if they wan't to test the sarfraz ahmed they can do it in ODI's.Lets see what happn

Posted by warneneverchuck on (January 21, 2013, 6:52 GMT)

@ Kiwirocker. Getsetgopk. Unfortunately u will never feel the joy of supporting your own team as there will never be cricket match played in Pak. Doesn't it a very bad thing for any country

Posted by smalishah84 on (January 21, 2013, 6:42 GMT)

Awesome interview. The guy has his feet on the ground and is quite realistic about where he stands. I wish him all the best.

Posted by TonyRai on (January 21, 2013, 5:36 GMT)

With Toufiq Umar doing so well as opener in Test matches alongside Hafeez, and No 3 to 6 with safe places in the team (Azhar, Younis, Misbah, Shafiq), Jamshed will probebly have to wait for a while to break into a settled Text Xi.

Posted by SK14 on (January 21, 2013, 5:36 GMT)

@RAJEESHKUMAR "he won't score much against fast bowling oppositions", yeah tell that to pattinson, starc, cummins and johnson who were pumelled for runs when ozzie toured uae vs Pakistan. If you don't know the facts why bother commenting???. I think you should be more concerned about the plight of indian batsmen who can't play the 'moving ball' even if its moving at home!.

Posted by sherishahmir on (January 21, 2013, 5:31 GMT)

Nasir Jamshed (NJ) is good addition to Pak batting with other young talented bats like Azhar Ali, Asad Shafique and Umer Akmal, all of them needs some time to groom themselves to the requirements of international cricket for all formats of game. Playing against India in India is a challenge for any batsman of opposition and NJ did well to that task, hopefully he will also do well against South Africa in coming series.

Posted by getsetgopk on (January 21, 2013, 5:27 GMT)

"I really wanted them to be quite and feel the pressure like I did" hahaha jamshed isn't a fan of Indian crowds, and I must say the Indians come to the ground for just one thing and that is 'India winning'. There is no sportsmanship, no interest in the game itself, good batting displayed by the opponent means that they have to make some more noise and bring him under pressure. Strange attitude really.

Posted by RAJEESHKUMAR on (January 21, 2013, 4:45 GMT)

He comes under the group of players who always perform well against India. he is not going to make any other impact in world cricket. I am sure, he wont score much against fast bowling oppositions. He is just another shoaib malik who finds place in the team when the opposition is india.

Posted by wakaPAK on (January 21, 2013, 4:19 GMT)

Must be amazing in those grounds when you can think you can silence 60,000 people with just one smack of the bat...

Posted by KiwiRocker- on (January 21, 2013, 3:49 GMT)

Nasir Jamshed is not yet Saeed anwar ( very few would be), but he is on the right track. The way he punished Indian bowlers in their own backyard was amazing. He seems to have a winning attitude as he finished games for Pakistan. He also seems to be a down to earth guy unlike some arrogant new age cricketers like Kohli who are brough back to earth. One also will appreciate struggles Nasir Jamshed has gone through. If he could tighten up his defence, he will have a long career ahead of him. It was also quite interesting that he noted that a world class player has to adopt to all kind of batting conditions. Well, south Africa will offer him that challange or else he will be laballed a flat track bulley like Sehwag, Kohli and so on. It is also disappoiting to learn that Indian crowds can be so hostile!Nationlism is good but Indian crowds can learn a thing or two from crowds in Sri Lanka and Pakistan that are always supportive of good cricket irrespective of who displays that...!

Posted by Tal_Botvinnik on (January 21, 2013, 3:33 GMT)

Nasir Jamshed is the next Saeed Anwar . He looks Really versatile and adopts quickly to situations.

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