Pakistan news June 16, 2010

Imran Nazir regrets premature Pakistan debut

Cricinfo staff

Pakistan opening batsman Imran Nazir, who was omitted for the ICC World Twenty20 and the ongoing Asia Cup, has said his early initiation into international cricket, at the age of 17, has done more harm to his career than good.

Nazir made his Pakistan debut in 1999 as a dashing opening batsman and an electric fielder, but over the years he wasn't able to cement his position in the Test and ODI side. Nazir was regarded more as a one-day specialist, but in his 79 ODIs so far has averaged only 24.61. He played the last of his eight Tests back in 2002.

"The truth is I was not ready for international cricket at that time, my technique was faulty and I didn't have the mental strength or understanding of the game," Nazir told PTI. "Now that I have began to understand how international cricket needs to be played I have been dropped from the national team."

Nazir's international career came to a standstill in 2008 when he joined the unsanctioned Indian Cricket League along with several Pakistan players. He was among the leading performers for the Lahore Badshahs but his stint lasted just one season after he and the league's players returned to the official fold.

He made a comeback to the one-day squad during the tour of Sri Lanka last year, but in five ODIs since his return , he has scored only 111 runs, with no fifty. He scored a half-century in a Twenty20 against New Zealand in Dubai, but in the two-match Twenty20 series against England in the UAE, he scored just 2 and 4 and was dropped for the World Twenty20.

His aggressive approach has often cost him his wicket, and Nazir has admitted that he needs to reassess his style of play.

"I am a more mature batsman now and if I get a chance to play again for Pakistan I will play in sensible fashion and cement my place in the team," Nazir said. "I am ready to curb my natural instincts to play again for Pakistan.

"But now after a lot of ups and downs in 11 years of international cricket I realise a batsman with limited range of shots cannot survive. Plus your shot selection has to be sensible, you must have the patience to wait for the bad ball to hit, not try a slog every ball as I used to do previously."

The Pakistan selectors have, traditionally, blooded several young players in their teens, including Hasan Raza, who at 14 was the world's youngest Test cricketer. Nazir feels it's always beneficial to give a player a decent run in domestic cricket before rushing him.

"I would say a player must be given time in domestic cricket before he is blooded in international cricket. Give him time to adjust and understand the game."