When Hasan Ali, the world famous Pakistan cricketer, received the Best Bowler of the Tournament award after assisting Pakistan in claiming their first ODI title during the Champions Trophy tournament in 2017, everyone thought he was the one and for a good reason. He had the typical talent of a Pakistan pacer, the ability to tweak the ball sideways with ferocious pace coupled with the skill of using an old ball. He also provided an energetic wicket celebration which certainly made it stand out above the rest.
Social media went absolutely bonkers, turning into the nation’s heartthrob in a matter of days. When Pakistan was visited by an ICC World XI cricket side a few months later, the adoring fans at the Lahore Qaddafi Stadium gave Hasan Ali a rousing welcome when he made his way to the bowling mark. The crowd’s roar was so loud that it instantly made journalists take notice of him inside the media centre.
Hasan Ali At the Start of 2018
During 2018, however, Ali’s performance took a serious nose dive. He’s incredible ODI average of 17.04 took a serious crash to 32.06, giving up the top position for bowlers in the ICC rankings. In 2018, Hasan started with a mere 6 wickets for a total of 217 runs during four ODI matches against New Zealand. During the final series of 2018 against the same team, Hasan returned 2 for 59 and 0 for 62 in the UAE. He also featured in 2 England Tests during the summer, accumulating 6 wickets in 3 innings. His best figure at the time of 4 for 51 during the first innings were followed up by 0 for 58. This caused him to sit out the during the Australian Test series.
Hasan Ali Makes a Comeback
There were loads of questions surrounding the line up for the New Zealand Test that followed. However, during Day One, with a sensational reverse-swinging delivery thudding the pads of de Grandhomme, Ali managed to answer them. He managed to quickly answer any remaining ambiguity regarding his selection the next day when he managed to send off Tom Latham on his very first delivery. The remarkable two dismissals summarised the story of his incredible ability to make the ball work in any given condition.
During Day Three, when Yasir Shah offered a vital opening thanks to the Kane Williamson wicket, Ali managed to double the damage when he sent off Ross Taylor, the most experienced batsman in the New Zealand squad, with a deadly in-dipper, as well as Jeet Raval in a matter of 5 deliveries. Yasir managed to pick up another 3 wickets later in the evening, while Hasan wiped out Trent Boult and Sodhi to top of 4-wicket haul earlier in 2018, allowing him to claim a maiden 5-wicket haul.
Hasan Ali will now face South Africa in a Test series, and the Pakistan team will need him to be on his best performance during the Test as he is an important cog in the team’s set-up for victory.