"I think that I am ready for international cricket" : Sami Aslam

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Despite having played only 14 first-class matches, 18-year-old Sami Aslam has caught the eye of many after some excellent performances for the Pakistan Under 19 side. Considered one of the country's brightest young batting talents, Aslam has scored two centuries and three half-centuries in his last eight matches for the Pakistan Under 19s, including 108 and 87 in the two matches against India as he led his side to the final of the Asia Cup.

The left-handed opener's sound technique and assured presence at the crease means he will be one of the key players for Pakistan as they prepare for the ICC Under 19 World Cup which is due to commence on 14th February in the UAE. Pakistan are due to face India, Scotland and Papua New Guinea in Group A as they bid to become the first side to win the tournament three times.

PakPassion.net caught up with the Pakistan Under-19s captain, ahead of their warm-up match against the United Arab Emirates Under-19s to discuss his career to date, future aspirations, as well preparations for the upcoming ICC Under 19 World Cup.


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PakPassion.net: A few weeks on from the defeat to India in the final of the Asia Cup, has the team recovered from the disappointment?

Sami Aslam: Yes, just about. We were on a good run after winning the tri-nation series in England last year and then winning another tri-nation event in the UAE against the hosts and England. We went into the Under 19 Asia Cup brimming with confidence and after defeating India in the pool match, we were very confident of lifting the trophy. It was painful to lose the main match which was the final to India, but you have to move on, learn from your mistakes and try and rectify the errors.


PakPassion.net: Where do you feel it went wrong in the Asia Cup final?

Sami Aslam: We played well in the final. It wasn’t a total disaster but we dropped catches at crucial moments and that really cost us. We batted well generally and bowled quite tidily but it was the fielding that really let us down in the final.


PakPassion.net: Would you say that there were some harsh lessons learnt from the defeat to India?

Sami Aslam: Yes, absolutely. Sometimes in defeat you learn more than you do with a win. During our training camp ahead of the Under 19 World Cup, we have focused a lot on our fielding which traditionally is the Achilles heel of Pakistani cricketers. Pakistan fielding coach Julien Fountain has also been working with us at the training camp on some of the technical aspects of fielding and that has proved to be very useful for all of us.


PakPassion.net: You recently broke the world record for most runs in Under 19 cricket. You must be proud of that achievement?

Sami Aslam: Yes it was a very proud moment for me, but above all it was a proud moment and an achievement for Pakistani cricket. I’ve been very lucky that during my days as an under-19 cricketer I’ve had fantastic support from coaches, team-mates and the support staff. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank them all as their hard work has definitely benefitted me over the years.


PakPassion.net: Under 19 commitments have meant that you’ve not played much domestic cricket this season. How do you feel about that?

Sami Aslam: The domestic season started really well for me and I made two hundreds in the first-class competition, including a score of 191, so that was really pleasing for me. In the one-day competition I also made a couple of hundreds and in all I had made four centuries in the early rounds of the domestic season and I was the highest run scorer after the first seven or eight matches in the one-day competition. Who knows maybe if I’d played the full season of domestic cricket, I could have been the overall highest run-scorer.


PakPassion.net: For someone whose not yet reached 19 years of age, you show a lot of maturity in your batting and have made quite a name already for yourself?

Sami Aslam: This season has been fantastic. The runs I made in domestic cricket at the start of this season have really boosted my confidence. Making runs in domestic cricket against the best bowlers of your country will definitely help you when you play at under-19 level.

However my true test will be to continue my good form in domestic cricket then do the same, hopefully, in international cricket. The step from under-19 cricket to international cricket is a huge one and shouldn’t be underestimated though. I feel I'm still learning and improving as a cricketer and making rapid progress.


PakPassion.net: Traditionally, Pakistan has struggled to find competent opening batsmen. Do you think you can eventually provide that much-needed stability at the top of the order for the Pakistan senior side across all three formats?

Sami Aslam: That’s my plan and ambition. A number of current and former players have spoken very highly of me and my batting and that has really been encouraging. I’ve made runs at under-19 level and in domestic cricket but my biggest challenge will be to shine in international cricket. I have a lot of faith in my ability, I’m a confident person and I feel that I can play for Pakistan in various formats for a long time.

Of course I will have to wait for my chance, take my time and leave it to the selectors as to when they think I am ready for international cricket, but I need to keep on improving and progressing as a cricketer and eventually I feel that my chance will come.


PakPassion.net: With the upcoming World Cup being your final tournament at under-19 level, you must be hoping to end this level of cricket on a high?

Sami Aslam: Yes definitely. I’ve been playing under-19 cricket for what seems like many years and it’s been a fantastic time. Under 19 cricket has given me a lot of exposure, some great moments but also taught me a lot about cricket. I’d really like to end my time as a Pakistan Under 19 cricketer with a World Cup win. It would be a fantastic achievement for myself, Pakistan cricket and all of the boys if we could win the World Cup.


PakPassion.net: The Pakistan Under 19’s strength at the moment seems to be it’s trio of spinners Kamran Ghulam, Zafar Gohar and Karamat Ali. Is it fair to say that they are your potential match-winners at the World Cup?

Sami Aslam: All three of the boys you have named have been very consistent and given the conditions in the UAE, they will be a real handful for any of our opponents. Conditions in the UAE are very much like Pakistan so our trio of spinners will be confident. In addition, we’ve recently been on a 40-day tour of the UAE and played 12 matches there so conditions will be very familiar. All three of the boys are match-winners and have the potential to trouble any side.


PakPassion.net: Zafar Gohar and Kamran Ghulam have also impressed with the bat too on a regular basis haven't they?

Sami Aslam: Both are very fine cricketers and maturing with each match. They’ve both been very consistent performers with bat and ball and have, many times, scored vital runs when the team needed them the most.

Zafar and Kamran are part of a group of players that go into the World Cup with very high hopes and they are part of a group of players whose morale is very high at the moment.


PakPassion.net: Is it fair to say that the batting has at times been the downfall for the Pakistan Under 19s as it was recently against Afghanistan when the team was skittled out?

Sami Aslam: Yes. We’ve lacked consistency and the problem is that if a player makes a big score in one match, then quite often it’s followed up with a couple of low scores. I think it’s due to a certain level of complacency at times. Sometimes, after making a big score the boys relax a bit when they go out to bat in the next match.

We’ve all played long innings, we all know what is required and expected of us so there are no excuses. It’s down to our mindset at times which needs improving. Our top order, including myself, needs to add consistency to our game as making one big score every four or five innings isn’t good enough.


PakPassion.net: What are your individual goals for the Under 19 World Cup?

Sami Aslam: I’d love to top the batting charts and end up as the highest run scorer. Also I’d like to ensure that I see my team home when we are chasing targets and lead from the front with the bat. As a captain I have added responsibility so I want to ensure that I handle the responsibility and be a role model for my team mates.


PakPassion.net: Do you think you are ready for international cricket?

Sami Aslam: Yes I do, I think I'm ready for international cricket. In fact if it hadn’t been for the Under 19 tournaments this season then I think my performances in domestic cricket would have resulted in an international call up this season. I think a good performance at the World Cup will also help my cause. I feel that I’m ready to play for Pakistan.


PakPassion.net: You’ve captained the Under-19s for a while now. You seem a natural as captain?

Sami Aslam: I actually enjoy the challenge of captaincy and the additional responsibility it brings. I think with some players it affects their performance but with myself I think it’s brought the best out of me. I don't get under pressure or confused as a captain and go with my natural instincts as a captain.


PakPassion.net: Have any of the current international players or other well known Pakistani cricketers offered you and your team-mates some advice before the Under 19 World Cup?

Sami Aslam: Yes we’ve seen quite a few of them around at the National Cricket Academy and they’ve all been offering words of encouragement and support. Kamran Akmal the other day stopped for a chat and wished us all the best which was nice of him. It's important to listen to cricketers who've played in major tournaments and to receive advice from them and how they approached playing in such high profile tournaments.


PakPassion.net: And finally a word on the big match against India at the World Cup...

Sami Aslam: It’s always a huge occasion when Pakistan faces India in a cricket match and the additional factor this time around is that it’s in a World Cup. We know what to expect, there will be no quarter given and both sides will, I’m sure, be fired up. However we must not lose focus on the fact that whilst defeating India is important, winning the World Cup is the bigger target.
 
Tbh from his replies he sounds mature and someone who is clear in what he wishes to do, though he should at least play a whole season of domestic cricket before being selected, would be great if Academy and A-team tours were organised once they leave the u-19 scene.
 
Seems like a very good prospect.
Also sound very humble, mature, and intelligent.
 
Although he can't wicket keep or spin bowl, he sounds like he can bat consistently
 
Potentially a good player but needs a good few solid seasons in domestic . Under 19 is child's play compared to international cricket. We have good options in the opening slot at present. Shahzad and jamshed once he gets his mojo back.
 
Dont think we can call him up for the asia cup and world t20 but for our next bilateral series if the big three let us have one
 
I really think we should give him a call up for the Bangladesh series later this year, he really deserves it...
 
I think it's too early to call him up to international cricket.

Ideally he needs a couple of "A" tours.

There are one or two minor flaws in his batting that he needs to correct otherwise he could get found out in international cricket.
 
i agree with you there, will be a good series to test him out and give him the exposure to international cricket at the top level.

I would also agree with this... What have we got to lose? He looks to have the temperament to play long innings and he already scored some good knocks against GOOD departmental bowling teams.
 
I think it's too early to call him up to international cricket.

Ideally he needs a couple of "A" tours.

There are one or two minor flaws in his batting that he needs to correct otherwise he could get found out in international cricket.

Pakistan "A" tours never ever seem to be played any more which means so many of our players fail to make transition from domestic cricket to international cricket, its something which needs to change.
 
Also the transition from U19 level to international cricket is by no means small.

It's practically huge.

Its one thing to hit U19 bowlers out of the park and totally another to hit international players out of the park.

Which is why we must be careful not to rush just any youngster who is great at U19 into the foray of international arena.
 
its too early dear... you need to perform domestic circuit consistently couple of seasons....
 
Everything was going smooth until he named Kamran Ahkmal.
 
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I have heard he bats like Fawad Alam. If that's true expect him to rot in domestic forever after a few failures.
 
I have heard he bats like Fawad Alam. If that's true expect him to rot in domestic forever after a few failures.

Yes Bat like Fawad Alam

Sami aslam is Great Player of Spin

Capable of Playing Sweap Shot,Slog Sweap,Cut Shot against Spinners
 
Looked really good today after a nervous start.

Shots all around the ground and his straight drives were beautiful.
 
Mature kid with a lot of confidence. Pakistani senior batsmen only have couple of them, h'll be very good. There will be times where he will be dropped after couple of bad starts if he happens to have them, i hope it doesn't bring him down.
 
Sami Aslam: Both are very fine cricketers and maturing with each match. They’ve both been very consistent performers with bat and ball and have, many times, scored vital runs when the team needed them the most.

Zafar and Kamran are part of a group of players that go into the World Cup with very high hopes and they are part of a group of players whose morale is very high at the moment.
 
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I am a bit disappointed with PAK U19 Captain today. He seems to have the same chronic problem of recent days' PAK batsmen - loosing head after hitting boundaries. Today, he played 2 brilliant shots of Sayer & it was elementary for him to look for a single & get off the strike. ENG Captain brought his prime spinner with in Power Play as last throw of the dice for a wicket & Sami obliged, despite hitting a couple of boundaries. & the shot selection was very poor - swiping against an off spinner, bowling round the wicket on a slow & low turner is a high risk shot. Not a mature act to justify that he is ready for international cricket yet.

Never the less, congrats & best wishes for the final.
 
I am a bit disappointed with PAK U19 Captain today. He seems to have the same chronic problem of recent days' PAK batsmen - loosing head after hitting boundaries. Today, he played 2 brilliant shots of Sayer & it was elementary for him to look for a single & get off the strike. ENG Captain brought his prime spinner with in Power Play as last throw of the dice for a wicket & Sami obliged, despite hitting a couple of boundaries. & the shot selection was very poor - swiping against an off spinner, bowling round the wicket on a slow & low turner is a high risk shot. Not a mature act to justify that he is ready for international cricket yet.

Never the less, congrats & best wishes for the final.

You're one of the best posters here.
 
I am a bit disappointed with PAK U19 Captain today. He seems to have the same chronic problem of recent days' PAK batsmen - loosing head after hitting boundaries. Today, he played 2 brilliant shots of Sayer & it was elementary for him to look for a single & get off the strike. ENG Captain brought his prime spinner with in Power Play as last throw of the dice for a wicket & Sami obliged, despite hitting a couple of boundaries. & the shot selection was very poor - swiping against an off spinner, bowling round the wicket on a slow & low turner is a high risk shot. Not a mature act to justify that he is ready for international cricket yet.

Never the less, congrats & best wishes for the final.

Thats called adrenaline rush... Many senior & experienced cricketers have lost their wicket due to this phenomenon (not only Pakistan but world over). Kohli has been rated so highly in young age because he was able to control this adrenaline rush in youth times..
 
No you are not ready for international cricket, Sami Aslam.
 
Thats called adrenaline rush... Many senior & experienced cricketers have lost their wicket due to this phenomenon (not only Pakistan but world over). Kohli has been rated so highly in young age because he was able to control this adrenaline rush in youth times..

May be, but I missed one more point. Today, Imam was injured & was struggling to run. ICC amended rules doesn't allow runners, therefore either Imam had to go off or should have blasted out. I think, the plan should have been Sami to try & play long innings to hold one side & Imam to go after. Was surprised to see PAK first 2 batsmen went for attacking shots while Imam kept limping till the Indian Umpire felt for his pain (No other explanation, I have seen lots, lots of cricket, first time saw an LBW given when the keeper wasn't interested).
 
Sami Aslam spoke to the media ahead of the U19 World Cup Finals in Dubai.

"We are confident that we can win the World Cup"

"We are gelled together and are working very hard for the final hurdle"

"Our coaches and support staff is working very hard on us"

"I know the importance of a good start, which wasn't provided by us in the semi-final"

"There is a lot of depth in our batting line-up, which came to our rescue in the semi-final"

"Zafar Gohar and Amad Butt are no mug with the bat and we can rely on them in future as well"

"Saud Shakeel played with a lot of responsibility, which was great to see"

"We haven't played with South Africa yet, but watching them play made us believe that it will be tight contest"

"I would like to thank the fans for backing us and for congratulating us"

"Inshallah, we will return home with the World Cup in our hands"
 
This guy is a promising talent.

I hope selectors show some faith in him
 
Needs to learn how to handle pressure situations and that will only come with experience.

Sent from phone.
 
Has shown promise. But not enough to be even considered for international cricket yet. Give him 2-3 solid years in domestic cricket and if he's good enough we will know by then. He will only be 20-21 then anyway.
 
Not ready. His style of playing is similar to Shehzad. He takes his time and consume many deliveries to get the eye in. We can't afford to have him with Shehzad. Another simple thing is he will struggle against international bowlers. It's not easy. Needs to work hard in FC cricket for atleast 2 years as other posters are suggesting.
 
No you are not ready. You will have to be handle 140k type bowlers day in an day out at senior level and it does not seem you can. Sorry no short cuts for you.
Spend 2-3 years in domestic cricket and score some runs before anything will happen.
 
I don't think he's ready as yet.

Needs a season or two at least in domestic cricket to sure up his skills and his technique.
 
Sami Aslam with a real chance to prove his mettle now.
 
I think it's too early, things may go down like what happened to Hassan Raza, and he is decent but not as good as much he is hyped up on PP.
 
What I am looking for in the youngsters is body language.

I want to them be confident and aggressive. Raza Hasan and Shehzad are perfect examples.

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Umar Amin and Shafiq are products of Misbah. Droopy shoulders and beta male.

When Aslam makes his debut I want him to show confidence and the rest will take care of itself, he has enormous potential. Can't expect him to make immediate impact. Needs a 15 game run before he can be judged.
 
Looking forward to see how he goes, had some really promising stats in the U19's.
 
Really looking forward to Sami Aslam! He has the record for the most U19 centuries! I really hope they give him a game!
 
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I wish Sami the best of luck, most likely he will make his ODI debut, because there is no other opener available
 
Zulfiqar babar was in Pathetic form in recent domestic tournament, got phainta from all and sundry, i dont have much hope from him
 
Nah, I reckon Amin will be given a go before him.

Amin isnt selected as an opener, Though i would like to try Amin as opener but i am sure Team management wont try him as an opener
 
Most runs as well?

Yeah I just saw that, pretty impressive, lets hope he can convert that record to an equally good international record. Apparently his stance his like Fawad Alam/Chanderpaul, except he has greater hitting ability than Fadi.
 
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Truly deserves it.

Highest scorer in the world at U19 level's history.

Excellent domestic performances, even at FC.

And amazingly consistent.

IMO could be the best opener in Pakistan.
 
And he has been presented with his chance.
 
Certainly didn't look out of place in international cricket did he?

Very good start for him.

A bright future.
 
He may not be 19. But he did show class in his innings. I really enjoyed his batting. Unfortunately he got out early.
 
He may not be 19. But he did show class in his innings. I really enjoyed his batting. Unfortunately he got out early.

Most U19 players I have seen usually struggles against short pitch bowling, but this guy is different. Loads of talent and never hurried as a batsman. The find of the tour for sure... better than the other two debutant by miles...
 
Most U19 players I have seen usually struggles against short pitch bowling, but this guy is different. Loads of talent and never hurried as a batsman. The find of the tour for sure... better than the other two debutant by miles...
I totally agree. He looked set on making a big score. He reminded me of Saeed Anwar and Younus Khan for some reason. While looking at his innings I was thinking in my head that Pakistan still gots talent. I really hope he continues on with this form and scores big.
 
The best player to debut this series. Rizwan and Naasim did look sloppy and their 50's weren't impressive
 
He looked calm and collected. Played proper cricketing shots. Pulls the ball well, good on the back foot. He will go well on English pitches.

Congratulations, we may have found a world class player.
 
Sami Aslam

All Ahmed Shehzad haters have one thing in common SAMI ASLAM! i mean seriously you're trying to ruin another young talented cricketer's future he is going to score some runs early on and when his flaws are out in the open the same bunch of people are going to accuse the same guy and will try to search for another one. The same thing they've been doing to all young talents they start from scratch and when its time to help him recover all they do is start labeling the guy. PLEASE TRY TO MAKE A PLAYER DON'T START EVERY TIME FROM SCRATCH AND RUIN ANOTHER YOUNG CRICKETER LET THEM GROOM FIRST!
Just because of these self proclaimed cricket experts Pakistan cricket is in ruins!
 
All Ahmed Shehzad haters have one thing in common SAMI ASLAM! I mean seriously you're trying to ruin another young talented cricketer's future he is going to score some runs early on and when his flaws are out in the open the same bunch of people are going to accuse the same guy and will try to search for another one. The same thing they've been doing to all young talents they start from scratch and when its time to help him recover all they do is start labeling the guy. PLEASE TRY TO MAKE A PLAYER DON'T START EVERY TIME FROM SCRATCH AND RUIN ANOTHER YOUNG CRICKETER LET THEM GROOM FIRST! Just because of these self proclaimed cricket experts Pakistan cricket is in ruins! -

See more at: http://www.pakpassion.net/ppforum/showthread.php?236327-Sami-Aslam&p=8253261#post8253261
 
All Ahmed Shehzad haters have one thing in common SAMI ASLAM! I mean seriously you're trying to ruin another young talented cricketer's future he is going to score some runs early on and when his flaws are out in the open the same bunch of people are going to accuse the same guy and will try to search for another one. The same thing they've been doing to all young talents they start from scratch and when its time to help him recover all they do is start labeling the guy. PLEASE TRY TO MAKE A PLAYER DON'T START EVERY TIME FROM SCRATCH AND RUIN ANOTHER YOUNG CRICKETER LET THEM GROOM FIRST! Just because of these self proclaimed cricket experts Pakistan cricket is in ruins! -

See more at: http://www.pakpassion.net/ppforum/showthread.php?236327-Sami-Aslam&p=8253261#post8253261

If we're self proclaimed cricket experts, then what are you?
 
If we're self proclaimed cricket experts, then what are you?

I am not because I am not jugding who is better and who is not! Because to judge on the basis on talent should left for experts like Javed Miandad etc. I am not an expert on cricket all I am telling you is a tale of history! That this is what you guys have been doing to all talents in Pakistan!
 
And the kid hits a double ton in second-round Patron’s Trophy. The left-hander stroked 201* while playing for SBP against Candyland. 14 fours and 6 sixes in his innings.
 
Congratulations to sami. Keep scoring runs like this. Want to see him in the team. Saeed anwar in the making.
 
Pcb shud utilise him properly and select him ASAP instead of manzoor iftkhar asif ali et al
 
Sami aslam babar azam zafar gohar ashraf rizwan are the future
 
And the kid hits a double ton in second-round Patron’s Trophy. The left-hander stroked 201* while playing for SBP against Candyland. 14 fours and 6 sixes in his innings.

I wouldnt read a WHOLE lot in it.

2 people i know are in Candyland team and one of them (a friend) is is deefinitely a ******.

The problem in the grade 2 competitions is that atleast 25% of players are ******.

In QeA trophy and the One day cup it is mostly on merit. Even if there is some unfairness it isnt a case where people are air dropped into the team out of nowehere like thos one.

Anyways good to see him play a long innings and show perseverence and patience. A problem with most of our current batsmen is that regardless of bowling opposition quality they just do not have the temperament or the patence to bat for long periods and throw their wickets away eventually. So this is a good sign in a way
 
If he continues to show the form he did today then surely he deserves another chance.

Still find it strange that he was dropped after making 45 off 50 balls.
 
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