I'm fit and ready to play - Jamshed
Pakistan opener Nasir Jamshed, who missed the ongoing tour of Sri Lanka because of a fractured finger, has said he is now fit and ready to play international cricket again. Jamshed will start practising next week.
"I was unlucky most of the time," Jamshed told ESPNcricinfo. "[I was not] serious with my cricket and never maintained my fitness as I should have. I realised the importance of fitness only after being dropped due to fitness grounds. But now I am more serious and focussed."
Jamshed has played only 16 ODIs despite making his Pakistan debut in January 2008. He made a comeback to the team after more than two and a half years in this year's Asia Cup, and scored a century against India in Dhaka. He could not make the trip to Sri Lanka because of his finger injury.
"It's disappointing when [you create] a strong impact with your performance but things change and you are out of the scene," he said. "But now I am fit and presently giving a precautionary rest to my finger before coming out in the nets to bat. While I was injured I was allowed to jog so that I kept myself fit."
Jamshed said he wanted to play Test cricket and had the aptitude for it because he was capable of long innings in one-dayers. "Playing a bigger format demands high fitness [and] skill," he said. "I have the temperament [for Test cricket but] it requires [high] fitness levels. It's because of the weight I had gained that I was out of the scene until this year. I have already reduced five kilograms, from 87kg, to keep my body more flexible and quicker."
He said he was aware of Pakistan's need to find a steady opening pair, and that he was ready to take up that responsibility. "It's about scoring runs. I am learning from [the other openers]. Everyone wants to play but only who scores can stay."
Jamshed averaged 65 for the first wicket with former Pakistan captain Salman Butt and said their success was because of their association in domestic cricket, where they opened for National Bank of Pakistan. Jamshed, however, has a better record with the present opener Mohammad Hafeez, with whom he has scored 404 runs in four innings.
"Opening is a very specialist slot and probably the hardest one in the batting order to play at. The opening combination is very important and more time you give to the combination, the more you get success and runs at the top."
Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent