Pakistan news June 10, 2010

Azeem Ghumman targets England tour

Cricinfo staff

Azeem Ghumman, who led Pakistan in the Under-19 World Cup that was held in New Zealand this year, has expressed his disappointment at not being picked for the Asia Cup but hopes his recent exploits with the bat are rewarded with a call-up for the tour of England.

"Since the Under-19 final I've been batting really well so I was expecting to be named in the Asia Cup squad. I've helped my teams win several games and I'm one of the most consistent openers in the Pakistani domestic scene." Ghumman told "I'm disappointed at not being picked but not disheartened. The message that I'm taking from this is that I need to work even harder and continue to perform so that I can get a chance for the England tour."

Ghumman delivered consistent performances in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy for Sui Southern Gas Corporation limited, averaging 41.50 as opener in four four-day games with a highest of 183. He was among the top run-getters in the RBS one-day competition, piling 302 runs in four games at 60.40. Under him, Pakistan made the finals of the U-19 World Cup, where they lost to Australia.

Ghumman said his prior experience of playing in England would be an asset to the team. "I've already played two seasons of cricket in England in 2005 and 2008. So I'm used to the conditions and if I get a chance to open in Test matches then I can really show everyone what I'm capable of. I'd say to the selectors, just give me a chance and I'll prove that I can be an asset for Pakistan."

Usually an opening batsman, Ghumman dropped down the order during the Under-19 World Cup. Adaptability to any position in the batting order, he said, was something he was comfortable with. "I'm naturally an opener and I love to open the innings, I really enjoy the challenge of facing down the new ball. Despite that, in the Under-19 World cup, I agreed to play out of position and slot into the middle order. This was because we had too many openers in the squad and everyone can't open the innings, so I agreed to take on the responsibility of batting in the middle order.

"The same applies to my selection for the Pakistan team. I'm an opener and it's my dream to open for Pakistan but I will bat wherever the team needs me."