BIRMINGHAM: When Hasan Ali was dropped after yet another disappointing performance in the aftermath of the high stakes game against India at Old Trafford, it seemed that his World Cup was over.
One of the stars of Pakistan’s title-winning campaign at the Champions Trophy in 2017, Hasan has been one of the team’s biggest flops in the World Cup having taken just two wickets at 133 in four matches.
Pakistan were forced to axe him from the playing eleven for the game against South Africa. They are unlikely to bring him back any time soon but Pakistan’s bowling coach, Azhar Mahmood, believes there is hope for the pacer, who was ranked the world’s top bowler just two years ago.
Azhar is of the view that the 24-year-old Hasan is just going through a lean patch of form and would be back at his brilliant best just like his team-mate Mohammad Amir.
“I think everyone in cricket, whether you’re a batsman or a bowler, you have bad form,” Azhar told reporters here at Edgbaston ahead of Pakistan’s must-win World Cup match against New Zealand.
“I think he’s having bad form. So he’s low on his confidence. I think he got self doubt in his own ability. But he has been working hard on and off the field. It’s just a matter of getting two, three wickets, and he’ll be back,” stressed Azhar, a former Pakistan Test all-rounder.
“Same thing happened to Amir, you know. After Champions Trophy, Amir was struggling, but he was bowling well. Now you see that he’s having a good time. So it’s the same thing that has happened to Hasan Ali as well,” he said.
While Hasan, who has just taken eight wickets from his last 12 ODI outings, Amir has been the biggest success story for Pakistan at the World Cup.
With a series of lethal spells, Amir has catapulted himself to the top of the bowlers’ table in the tournament and has played a key role in the team’s wins against England and South Africa.
So what has Amir done to achieve such a stunning turnaround?
Azhar is of the view that even when he wasn’t taking wickets, Amir was bowling well.
“Amir was really bowling well. His wicket column was empty but after Champions Trophy he was our best bowler when it came to the economy rate.”
Azhar said that what Amir is doing differently in the World Cup is that he bowling closer to the stumps.
“That way he is allowing himself to swing the ball. His length is good and now he is taking wickets. We are hoping that he would give us breakthroughs with the new ball tomorrow.”