February 28, 1978, Sheikhupura, Punjab
Also Known As
Right hand bat
Right arm medium fast
Rana made his debut in Sharjah immediately after the disastrous 2003 World Cup, at which time he was competing with Abdul Razzaq, Shoaib Malik and Azhar Mahmood for the allrounder's spot. Few backed him then despite some impressive early performances and he was dropped soon after, allegedly because of disciplinary problems. But with continuing ambiguity over Shoaib Akhtar's part in the Pakistan team and injuries to other bowlers, Rana worked his way back as an essential cog in the ODI team.
As with most Pakistan bowlers of pace, he can bowl a reverse-swinging yorker almost at will. His change of pace is another useful weapon. But his nous with the ball, his control over line and length and his absolute refusal to consider giving anything less than his all in the field has stood out.
His Test appearances remain limited and largely unsuccessful, though he bowled well when England visited in 2005-06. His form in 2006 fell away drastically, possibly due to a groin injury he picked up at Sussex, and with the return of Umar Gul, his position was in some doubt. But as Pakistan continued to struggle with finding a fit fast bowler, he managed to hold on to his place for the World Cup, despite a disastrous South African tour. A disappointing tournament saw him dropped from Pakistan's plans immediately thereafter though Sussex continued to show faith, justifiably. As a lower-order, hard-hitting batsman, he has had little opportunity to impress, despite his insistence that he is, in fact, a natural wicketkeeper batsman. And he gave up his first love, hockey, for cricket.
Naved paid the price for an unforgettable opening World Cup 2007 match against West Indies as he dropped for the following two matches as well as being overlooked for no only the tours to Abu Dhabi and Scotland but also the two fitness and training camps. Following that, he was one of the notable absentees from the list of players who were awarded central contracts in July 2007. Although he was given a two-year contract with Yorkshire, he risked his future with Pakistan and the county circuit by joining an exodus of Pakistan players to the unsanctioned Indian Cricket League. But when the PCB pardoned players to have severed ties with the ICL, Naved was soon called back into the ODI side. He was included in Pakistan's squad for their shambolic, winless tour of Australia in late 2009 and was one of the players banned or fined during the subsequent fallout and PCB inquiry. But while Shoaib Malik and Mohammad Yousuf soon had their bans overturned and returned to the Test side Naved remained in the wilderness and may well struggle to force his way back into an attack containing Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Asif and Umar Gul even if he returns to the fold.
Osman Samiuddin August 2010
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