Pakistan all-rounder Hammad Azam, who has been a part of the national team only 11 times since his debut in 2011, believes he can emulate veteran Abdul Razzaq’s feats for the Men in Green.
“I have played 16 international games over a period of five years and to be honest, the progress of my international career has been a little disappointing for me,” said Hammad. “However, just like I rose to fame in my Under-19 years, I would like to repeat the same for myself at the domestic level and eventually at the international level as well.”
Azam added: “My aim is to make a name for myself just like Abdul Razzaq did for himself and Pakistan in international cricket. I suppose all one can do is to keep on performing to the best of their abilities and hope for the best. At the end of the day, the selection committee has its own views as does the captain so there isn’t any point being disheartened and one has to remain positive about these things.”
The 25-year-old thinks his stint with Ashcombe Park in the North Staffordshire and South Cheshire League can help him develop his game further.
“I have come over to England to play club cricket and gain experience in playing in English conditions which is something my seniors have always advised me to do,” he said. “The fact that I am an overseas professional puts me in a position where I have to bat with a lot of responsibility which is crucial as an all-rounder and also helps me to develop my temperament.”
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“I am glad to say that I have played some good innings so far and have been able to build my innings with the right temperament and it seems, so far, that I am achieving the aims I have set for myself during this summer in England.”
Hammad further believes that if he can learn to adapt to new conditions quickly then he can become an asset for Pakistan’s first team which is lacking quality all-rounders at the moment.
“It’s always a challenge when you play away from Pakistan as wickets back home are batting-friendly whereas here in England, the wickets and conditions suit bowlers a lot more,” said Hammad. “Despite that I have managed to put in scores of 116, 75 and 63 and am currently the leading run-scorer with my club. I suppose one can say that the best players are those who can adapt to new conditions and this is also what I am trying to accomplish.”
Meanwhile, the right-hand batsman and bowler is frustrated because of his non-selection even in the A team which is touring England.
“There is always hope, especially with the new selection committee in place,” he said. “I can only hope and wish that with this new set-up I will be noticed by the selectors when I go back and play domestic cricket and put in some good performances. I would like to emphasise that it is indeed frustrating that I have not been selected for an international game since the series against Zimbabwe in 2015. I performed well with United Bank Limited in the previous season but despite that I am not even part of the Pakistan A team which is frustrating.”
Another reason for the medium pacer’s non-selection can be his lack of pace but Hammad believes taking wickets is the primary job of any bowler. Also, in batting, he aims to move up from the lower middle-order.
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“There is always room for improvement for any professional cricketer,” he thinks. “In my case, I am working hard to improve my batting and to show that I can perform a role in the middle order by playing long innings instead of being used as a slogger down the order. This would also be ideal for my position in my department’s batting order as well.
“Of course, I am also working to improve my bowling as I hear comments about my bowling not being that effective or lacking pace. I do take wickets but for some reason that is not considered good enough, so all I can do is to work on that aspect as well.”