Should Ahmad Shahzad really be dancing with such inconsistent performances?
When Ahmad Shahzad is batting well, it’s a known fact he can thrash the bowlers all over the park. The way he runs down the ground, on his day, and smashes the ball over long-on is just a treat to watch.
Karachi Kings could testify to this. In his second innings in the on-going Pakistan Super League (PSL), Ahmad played a scintillating knock against them, smashing 76 off just 46 deliveries. His assuredness and poise made that particular inning one of the best of the tournament so far. He had made his mark. And right after that gargantuan innings, he was not reticent in bashing his critics.
“For the last three years I have been giving my best for the Pakistan team. I play sincerely and work very hard. I am still young. There are times when a player fails to deliver consistently. Every player faces such times and it is normal,” Ahmed complained. “Players like Kohli, Dhawan, Sharma and Joe Root also lose their form, but it’s their talent and ability which makes them the best. Players with such ability need to be backed and given confidence.”
Just when we were wondering if he had really found his long-awaited rhythm, he succumbed to Shaun Tait for just 16 of 11 in the very next innings. This was quite characteristic of Ahmad; a delightful knock followed by a grim show.
This has been Ahmad’s problem since ages actually.
The difference between Ahmad and aforementioned players is that they depict their willingness to learn and master their weaknesses. They do not get out playing some reckless shots. More importantly, they are consistent more often than not.
On the other hand stands Ahmad scratching his head or moving his legs to songs at the boundary.
In his 40 international T20 innings, he has not shown a slight commitment to learn. While he averages 24.76 with a strike rate of 115.88, it is the dissection of his numbers that reveals the real picture.
Out of his 40 innings, he has scored less than 20 in 25 innings. He has scored just four 50s and three of them have come against Zimbabwe. Also, his only 100 has come against Bangladesh. In his last 10 T20 innings, his numbers do not paint a hunky-dory picture either: 8, 9, 16, 4, 28, 7, 17, 7, 46, and 18. Clearly not the stats you expect from your ace batsman.
Consistency is a trait unknown to Ahmad. While I am writing these words, he has squandered his wicket by playing a reckless shot against Lahore Qalandars. Once again. Just 15 off 11. He has definitely not learnt his lesson.
Yes, players need to be backed and given confidence. But for how long?
Now that the Pakistan Cricket Board is about to announce the squad for the Asia Cup and the T20 World Cup, I would not be surprised if he is given another chance at redemption. If Ahmad has not learnt his lesson, the selectors have not learnt either.
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.