Raza Hasan confident of swift return
Raza Hasan, Pakistan's 20-year old left-arm spinner, is confident of being back in the reckoning for national selection with his swift recovery from a career-threatening spine injury. He returned to competitive cricket, after an almost four-month break, in the ongoing Faysal Bank Super Eight Twenty20 Cup.
Hasan, who made his international debut last September against Australia, has played seven Twenty20 internationals since, taking six wickets at 25.66. But he was pegged back with major back trouble when he injured the disc in his spine in a domestic Twenty20 game on December 2. He underwent surgery, performed by a neurosurgeon Dr. Anjum Habib Vohra.
"It was a major blow but with the timely treatment I am back in shape," Hasan said. "Although I was given at least eight weeks' rest by the doctor, I extended it to 12 weeks to give my body adequate rest. I am enjoying good health due to the gap. I am working hard to cover up for lost time.
"I was a bit reckless earlier with my injury and I let it linger on, but now after the operation I am taking extra caution to take care of myself with proper gym sessions and back exercise."
In the wake of the injury, he missed the tours of India and South Africa, and hasn't so far played Tests or ODIs for his country. During his layoff, two other left-arm spinners, Zulfiqar Babar and Abdur Rehman - who served a 12-week ban for testing positive for cannabis during his spell with Somerset - have been called in by the selectors. But the competition with other spinners for a place, with Saeed Ajmal leading the race, isn't worrisome for Raza.
"I am not really worried on being pushed back on return of Abdur Rehman or others as I don't think I will be competing with anyone. The only completion I am facing is with my own self and I need to improve myself from here. I am young and have plenty of time ahead of me [to do the needful], rest is in the hands of the selectors."
Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent. He tweets here