If there was Mohammed Amir who was the chief architect of Pakistan’s destructive bowling performance against India in the Champions Trophy, then the enabler was easily Hasan Ali, throughout the tournament. The Pakistani pacer was able to scalp many important wickets en route to the Final and it was his explosive celebration and aggression that caught the eye of many.
Hasan Ali is one of the many success stories of young Pakistani bowlers over the last two years or so. Along with the likes of Shadab Khan and Amir, he has become a key part of a Pakistani bowling line-up that does not play light and are always on the attack against the opposition batsmen.
Ali’s rise to the top has not been a smooth one. Here was a player who was ridiculed during the first PSL, when he was playing for Peshawar Zalmi. A journalist passed an unnecessary remark saying that Ali was not important enough to stand-in. This would have been hurtful to Ali, but he took it in the right spirit and in a matter of 18 months, he is on the top of the International bowling charts.
Hasan Ali is not your normal bowler because he bowls a very tight length and line that makes it hard for batsmen to really get their strokes going. He can also surprise batsmen with an excellent bouncer and this was most noticeable when he took MS Dhoni’s wicket in the Champions Trophy with a fantastic short one.
He also ended up becoming the third fastest bowler in history to reach 50 wickets and currently stands at 56 wickets in just 26 ODIs, the most by any bowler since his debut.
Meteoric levels of consistency:
Hasan Ali is also the fastest bowler from the sub-continent to reach the number one ranking since his debut. He beat his own Pakistani countryman Mushtaq Ali, as he reached the feat in a matter of just 426 days since his debut in Dublin.
In the recent series against Sri Lanka where Pakistan drubbed them 5-0, Ali went about his business with a brilliant 14 wickets in those games, at an average below 12 and an economy rate of 3.69 and its whereabouts.
Such levels of consistency have seen him included in the ODI bowlers of the year rankings and it is justifiable if he ends up winning the award for his ridiculously good performances. He is still only 23-years old and looks more and more dangerous with each match that he plays.
It will be interesting to see if he can maintain such levels of consistency or whether the success it would start affecting his performances later on. For now, Pakistan have found their new explosive BOOM BOOM in the diminutive fast bowler.
By Rohit Nair