Image courtesy of: Zimbio
Pakistan pace bowler Hasan Ali has revealed that bowling coach Azhar Mahmood was the man behind his rapid rise to stardom.
Hasan’s comments come after he was named Player of the Tournament and received the Golden Ball for being the highest wicket-taker during Pakistan’s successful Champions Trophy campaign.
Hasan took 13 wickets in five matches at a brilliant average of 14.69.
“Azhar Mahmood bhai has played a very big hand in my success,” he said. “He has taught me a lot about my role, about the bowling plans. He teaches me how to bowl. I always discuss opposition batsmen with him. We talk about the pitch, the ground dimensions, and even which balls will be effective or not.”
In addition to Mahmood, Hasan explained how his older brother, Ataur Rahman, helped him fulfill his dreams of becoming an international cricketer.
“I started playing cricket like everyone else in Pakistan: in galli and mohalla (alleys and neighbourhood),” he said. “The biggest influence from those days has been my elder brother Ataur Rahman. He didn’t get to play a lot at the domestic level, but he was a very good player. I started playing cricket after watching him.
“After Allah, if I have belief and respect for anyone it is for my brother. If I am successful today, it is because of him. For me, he sacrificed everything.”
In regards to the bowler that inspired him the most, Hasan had no hesitation in naming the legendary Waqar Younis.
“I play cricket as if I worship it,” he added. “I always feel that I should not fall short of my plans. I want to play like a brave man, like a lion. I followed Vicky (Waqar Younis) bhai a lot; his aggression, his bowling fascinates me. But I also bowl according to the conditions. Pace alone does not matter. You have to ally it with your skills.”
Meanwhile, when asked which wicket stood out the most for him at the Champions Trophy, the 23-year-old said: “It was Eoin Morgan’s wicket. When I returned for the second spell, the ball was reversing slightly. My plan for him was that if I could pitch on the same spot for three or four balls and put pressure on him by creating dots, he would 100% charge me. I was bowling outswing when he suddenly stepped out. I pitched it wide and he edged it, luckily for me.”