At least now we know what Ahmad Shahzad has been smoking!

Published: June 27, 2018
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Ahmed Shehzad of Pakistan poses during the portrait session at the Malmaison Hotel on May 26, 2017 in Birmingham, England. PHOTO: GETTY

During the series against World XI last year, I wrote on Ahmad Shahzad. Roughly nine months have passed and here I am writing about the same person again. He was playing selfishly back then and now he is allegedly playing with substance abuse. 

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has not officially stated the name of the cricketer involved in the doping test, however, they have confirmed that there was someone who tested positive. Reports have been surfacing that this “mystery man” is Shahzad. To be honest, it would not be a surprise if this turns out to be true. Not much will change with this, except that Shahzad would have found a new way to disappoint us all.

T20 was the only format Shahzad somehow managed to crawl his way back into after being dropped out of each format in turns. How was he able to earn a comeback to the T20 squad is a mystery in itself because we saw no improvement in him whatsoever since the last time he was dropped. Nevertheless, even his place in the T20 lineup was hanging by the thread but it couldn’t hold onto Shahzad’s mishaps any longer after he allegedly tested positive in a doping test.

The substance has not been confirmed as yet, however, some speculations claim that it was marijuana. Even though it is pretty shameful to see Shahzad reportedly indulge in such activities, his abysmal performance on the field probably still ranks higher in the shameful category.

I would still credit Shahzad for his creativity. It takes a genius to find a new way of getting dropped after his millionth comeback. Those impressed with Arnold Schwarzenegger’s ability to come back to life in Terminator have surely not followed Shahzad’s comebacks into international cricket. The immortal nature of Shahzad’s career in the national side would even put Schwarzenegger to shame!

This time Shahzad thought it would be nice to mix things up a little. Getting dropped due to lack of performance is too mainstream. He did that already time and again without facing much trouble for finding his way back in. Allegedly consuming substances that he has full knowledge of being prohibited was far more appealing to him.

No wonder Shahzad’s initial shots were missing the fielders in his last outing. Usually, he plays an extravagant shot only to find the fielder within the circle with utmost precision. The drug effect probably helped disturb his accuracy in finding the fielders.

On a more serious note, if this is true, Shahzad hasn’t only let the nation down but himself as well. Like Umar Akmal, Shahzad never did justice to his talent. He broke into the side at a fairly young age, played some picture-perfect shots and impressed us all in no time. Then he got compared to Virat Kohli. It all went downhill from there onwards.

Besides trying to mimic Kohli’s look on the field, Shahzad never reached the same heights of success. The comparison with Kohli started off in real terms but turned into a joke soon after. Shahzad was still struggling to hold onto his place in the team by the time Kohli was captain of the Indian side.

Each time Shahzad got dropped from the side, the expectations were that he would work extremely hard to get one more chance at living his dreams.

The rumoured use of marijuana leaves doubts over how serious Shahzad is about his own dream. Maybe Waqar Younis wasn’t far off when he mentioned that he “worked hard on them but unfortunately the passion is not there” when referring to Shahzad and Akmal in his report prior to resigning as the head coach.

How can an individual indulge in any activity that carries the risk of being banned when he is already on the brink of being left out in the team’s future plans?

Younis might not have left fond memories as a head coach for Pakistan but his final comments on Shahzad and Akmal were spot on. Shahzad’s lack of remorse over his unfulfilled potential is evident. Instead of cherishing each opportunity he got to play in the national team, a dream for millions in Pakistan, Shahzad has put little thought over being banned from international cricket when he apparently consumed the substance that had “prohibited” written all over it.

This could possibly be the end of the road for Shahzad’s career, although, I won’t bet a penny on him for not making a comeback. The love story he has shared with the PCB selectors has been a loyal one. He could be back in the squad the very day the ban is over.

However, for Shahzad to reach his full potential, he must be forced to toil hard in domestic cricket. I know he is the favourite child of the selectors for a long time but if Fawad Alam can rot in the domestic circuit for years despite performing, then Shahzad can certainly spend some time learning to value the golden opportunities life has presented him.

I wish I could write about the loss Pakistan would have to bear by losing Shahzad but he made sure in his entire career that it will never be the case. An average of 26.4 in T20s and 32.5 in ODIs mean we won’t be missing out on much.

For Shahzad’s sake, if he is banned, I hope he uses the time off to do some soul searching. It’s never too late to fix your mistakes within the same lifetime.

On the bright side, looking at his performances now, we won’t be screaming “what are you smoking?!” at our television screens. He might have cleared that up for us.

Hamza Junaid

Hamza Junaid

The author is an avid cricket follower and plays for a team called Gladiators based in New York. He tweets as @hamza_junaid1 (twitter.com/hamza_junaid1)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • daniyal shahid

    Well written ! But this is something Pakistani can finally admire.Recommend

  • SuperAijaz

    Umer Akmal and Ahmed Shehzad both proved again and again that they are never going to fix themselves. They are “Un-Sudherable”.Recommend

  • Hamza Junaid

    You are right. Both have a track record of not learning but one can only hope one day they will.Recommend

  • Sufiyan

    The amount of time that this guy and Umar akmal have wasted of pakistan cricket is borderline criminal. They want to be treated as the best thing that happened to Pakistan cricket yet they have nothing to show for it. This probably is a blessing in disguise.Recommend

  • Hamza Junaid

    Thanks Daniyal! Finally we wont have to see Shehzads painfully slow constructed innings.Recommend

  • SHAH S

    It is unfortunate but he has surpassed the criteria of being either ‘stupid’ or an ‘idiot’ ; He is now in the special exclusive category of being a .. ‘stupid idiot’ … ; It is time he charts a new course to achieve recognition… maybe not as cricketer. He should change the company he keeps… those guys he hangs around with are bad news;Recommend

  • Nomi_10

    Ahmed Shehzad and Umar Akmal are self called a super star in cricket but on a realistic note they are a burden on pakistan cricket…Pcb selectors should be criticized for selecting shezad over and over again…They think that they are super star of pakistan cricket like our legends waseem akram,waqar younus,shoaib akhtar,razzq afridi and many more what are not mentioned here…controversies suits on them who have contributed much more to the cricket…but in shezad and akmal they didn’t even contribute any thing special to cricket but they are always go for controversies….this time selectors should learn and to avoid from these two players…i am recalling the words of waqar younis about them “sacrificing shehzad and akmal would be better for pakistan cricket”.Recommend

  • Hamza Junaid

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts! I would agree that the controversies umar akmal and shehzad carry outweigh their contributions on the field. It would be best for PCB to move on.Recommend

  • Hamza Junaid

    Hahaha it is borderline criminal indeed!Recommend

  • Hamza Junaid

    Hahahaha! I am not sure whether the guys around him are bad news or he is bad news for others around him.Recommend

  • Omar K Cheema

    why would someone be banned for smoking marijuana?
    marijuana is legal in the entire developed world.
    testing positive for marijuana is like testing positive for alcohol.
    I dont want him anywhere near the team but why is marijuana being treated like a drug, when every single has study has shown it is safer than alcohol?Recommend

  • AAM

    There are two times when Ahmed Shahzad really impressed each and every Pakistani around the world

    1. When he did not played in all the future matches in ICC Champions Trophy 2017 after Pakistan’s defeat against India and in result Pakistan went on to win the tournament by defeating India in the finals

    2. This time when he is out of the time due to his dope test coming positive, I hope he remains out of the team for the remainder of his career.Recommend

  • Hamza Junaid

    I am not sure which entire developed world you are referring to Omar. I am in New York, a relatively “developed” place and marijuana is illegal here as well.
    Besides, whether marijuana is safe or not is a separate debate. When a substance in prohibited in the rules then you must abide by the rules if you are to play that sport.Recommend

  • Hamza Junaid

    Hahahah! I second your thoughts. Each time he has been out of the team it has been blessing in disguise.Recommend

  • Aaqab

    Marijuana is not legal here in the UKRecommend

  • BM

    Bro Marijuana is only legal in few places! what are you talking about the entire developed world?!?Recommend

  • BM

    Agreed!Recommend

  • BM

    What a waste this guy has been. Well Written!Recommend