An Interview with u19 all-rounder Hammad Azam

Discussion in 'Cricket Talk' started by Mercenary, Jan 29, 2010.

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    Mercenary

    Joined: Dec 17, 2009
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    An Exclusive Interview with Pakistan u19 all-rounder Hammad Azam

    by Abdul Habib
    29th January 2010


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    Cricistan.com: Congratulations on reaching the u19 World Cup final.

    Hammad Azam:
    Thank you, it's thanks to everyone's duas (prayers) that we've got this far.


    Cricistan.com: There's a lot of confusion surrounding your selection for the senior side to play in the T20 against Australia, what's the truth?

    Hammad Azam:
    Well even I wasn't sure till today, I hadn't been contacted by anyone from the PCB but everyone seemed to think that I had been selected to play for the senior team. At one point I thought the only thing that could stop me playing was if my short notice visa wasn't approved in time but I've had it confirmed today and the answer is no, I haven't been selected.


    Cricistan.com: Clearly you're disappointed now but when you thought that you had been selected were you feeling greater excitement or nervousness?

    Hammad Azam:
    I definitely wasn't nervous. To be honest with you I haven't had the time to sit down and give the idea much thought. We're preparing for a World Cup final and everyone's attention is focused on winning that game. We're too busy planning and training, it's all about focus right now.


    Cricistan.com: During the quarter final and the semi final you rescued Pakistan with some solid lower order batting, what was going through your head as you watched the match slipping away from Pakistan?

    Hammad Azam:
    I was only thinking of one thing. I kept telling myself that regardless of whether the team wins or loses, my job was to stay there till the last ball. The team needed me and what they needed the most from me was to stay out there and not give my wicket away. In both games I knew that if I was still batting at the end of the innings then Pakistan would have won the match.


    Cricistan.com: You've got a reputation as a big hitter and with that comes a unique pressure to hit regular boundaries. How do you cope with that pressure when no-one has hit a boundary for a few overs, do you feel the need to take a big swing at the next ball?

    Hammad Azam:
    No I don't think it's wise to do that, even if you're not getting boundaries you can still keep the score ticking along at 4 or 5 runs an over with good running between the wickets. The most important thing in batting is strike rotation, if you keep looking to get to the other end then the run rate will take care of itself. However sometimes when we're chasing a huge score then there is pressure to hit regular boundaries. But even then we can stay withing touching distance of the run rate as long as we keep rotating the strike and dispatching the bad balls to the boundary. There's hardly ever a reason to take wild slogs.


    Cricistan.com: Pakistan were already through during your match against Bangladesh but you joined with Waqas to pull an almost impossible victory from the jaws of defeat. I've seen senior Pakistan teams put less effort into games that still meant something, what drove you to go for the win when you had already qualified?

    Hammad Azam:
    The credit goes to our coach Ijaz Ahmed, he's instilled a never say die attitude in us. He's told us that we should never give up and that there's always a chance to win the game as long as we play out the entire innings. He doesn't want to see us all back in the dressing room when there are still deliveries left to be bowled, he wants to see us play out the last ball of every innings! Plus I don't think you can see the match didn't matter because it mattered to us. We were on a winning streak and we didn't want to lose our momentum with a loss. Then there's the fact that rain was forecast during the finals and we wanted to top our group by as big a margin as possible. That way in the event of a washed out game we would progress to the next stage.


    Cricistan.com: Waqas launched a brutal assault in the last two overs of that game against Bangladesh, talk us though it.

    Hammad Azam:
    We needed 40-odd from the last two overs when a message came from the dressing room telling us to just go for it. Waqas played an amazing knock to get those runs so quickly and I was happy to play the supporting role in that game, the team win is the most important thing. We won that game on the penultimate ball which just goes to prove what I said earlier, if you stay out there till the last ball of the innings then you will always win more games than you lose.


    Cricistan.com: The senior side have two Akmal's playing against Australia and the junior side have two Azam's playing in the u19 World Cup. Are you related to Babar and do you have any family that have played professional cricket?

    Hammad Azam:
    No I'm not related to Babar, it's just a coincidence that we have the same surname. I only have one other family member who's played professional cricket and that's Haseeb Azam. my older brother. Haseeb and I both play first class cricket for the Rawalpindi region, he's a right arm fast bowler.


    Cricistan.com: At first class level you open the innings for Rawalpindi but here in New Zealand you've been batting at number 6, who's decision was it to move you?

    Hammad Azam:
    During the u19 series in Sri Lanka, my coach Ijaz Ahmed told me that I would be better suited to playing down the order at number 5 or 6. He said I had more potential as an all-rounder and I have to agree with him, the move down the order has benefitted me a lot.


    Cricistan.com: You've now played in both positions, if given the option where would you prefer to bat?

    Hammad Azam:
    I've adjusted to playing in the lower order and I've also performed at this position too. I want to work on becoming a genuine all-rounder so I'm happy where I am.


    Cricistan.com: Do you consider yourself a batsman who bowls or a bowler who can bat?

    Hammad Azam:
    I'm a batsman first, that's where my real strength lies but I see myself as an all-rounder.


    Cricistan.com: I've seen you clocking in the high 130 kph range during the u19 World Cup. What's the fastest delivery you've bowled and what type of bowler do you see yourself as?

    Hammad Azam:
    The fastest I've clocked is 139 kph against India but I'm not an out and out pace bowler. I want to bowl a good line and length because if I can get my lines right then the wickets will come by themselves. I bowl in the middle of the innings and my main role is to contain the batsmen and frustrate them into giving their wickets away.


    Cricistan.com: What's the feeling in the camp about the u19 final?

    Hammad Azam:
    It's a very confident camp, we feel that we have the ability to win the cup as long as we play to our potential. The prayers of every Pakistan fan and our parents are with us so Insha Allah (God Willing) we will win this game.


    Cricistan.com: Any messages for anyone before the big game?

    Hammad Azam:
    I'd just like to say that I'm here today because of my parents support, especially my father who has really backed me a lot to get me to where I am today. I'd also like to thank my Rawalpindi coach Sabeeh Azhar who has helped me a lot and always given me his backing.
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    Big Daddy

    Joined: Dec 21, 2009
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    Thats right people, we need to smoke some turkey, wrap some thanksgiving tag on it, we hungry. Go Pakistan
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    pakmufc

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    inshallah the next Abdul Razzaq in the making. Look forward to seeing him in the senior squad soon, but i wouldnt rush him in to the squad just yet. Good interview, sounds like his head is screwed on.
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    dr aziz

    Joined: Jan 27, 2010
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    Before he graduates to the senior level, we need to get rid of selfish players...coz.....''kharbooze ko dekh k kharbooza rung pakarrta hai''.
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    Nadeem

    Joined: Dec 22, 2009
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    It was a pleasure to read.

    Hammad has the potential to become a great all-rounder, he needs to maintain the attitude in order to succeed at the top. I feel someone like Waqar would help improve his bowling as well as his speed in order to trouble the top batsmen around. I only think it was in his best interest not be selected for T20 series in Australia, it would only distract him from the finals.

    Credit must also go to Ijaz ahmed their coach, someone who’s been able to get the best out of these youngsters during the short period of time.

    Does anyone who was the coach during the last world cup?
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    Saqlain Doosra

    Joined: Jan 19, 2010
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    Really good interview. I wanted to ask questions about which part of pakistan he was from? Looking at cricinfo profile it says born in attock. Wanted to know if he was from attock and which part.
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    Mercenary

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    Omar

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    Good stuff Merc!
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    Big Daddy

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    It seems we were all wrong, this dude aint a razzaq or a watson, he is a tandulkar reincarnate who cruises in the group stages but chokes in the final. maro salay ko
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    Mercenary

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    He won us the quarter final and the semi final, he was only dismissed once in the entire tournament.

    He was unlucky in the final. I dont think we can write him off based on one delivery out of a whole world cup.
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    Nauman

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    I think that was on the cards he was hyped up so much that it was bound to happen.
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    Big Daddy

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    u didnt get it did u
  13. Offline

    Feather

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    Pakistani fans at their very best!
  14. Offline

    Mercenary

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    Yeah totally missed the sarcasm in that post, I must be getting old
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    Juggernaut

    Joined: Feb 17, 2010
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    A lot of good things from that interview.

    A Pakistani player who believes in running between the wickets :eek:, staying there till the end, a focus on line and length bowling and not just out and out mindless pace (heres looking at you Sami). The lad seems to have a lot of common sense. Add to that he seems to be a pressure player.

    It's good to know he wants to be a genuine all rounder.

    Batting wise he looks solid technically and he has the shots. Bowling wise he can improve but I've still been impressed with what I've seen. All in all a good prospect.

    Hopefully he isn't hyped to oblivion or lost in the system. Definately one to keep an eye on.
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    LBW

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    Future prospect
  17. Offline

    Mercenary

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    I hope Hammad finally gets a chance to play today
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    Bilal123

    Joined: Dec 11, 2010
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    I hope that both Azam and Junaid make their ODI debuts today. Also I think Shahzad needs to perform soon else he is out of the team for near future
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    Mercenary

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    What a debut for Hammad, he didn't bat or bowl
  20. Online

    Passionate Pakistani

    Joined: Jun 10, 2011
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    a timely bump

    man where is all this cricistan staff...

    we need some more exclusives.. mercy bhai
  21. Offline

    cricketstar2

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    My favourite players interview
  22. Offline

    1137moiz

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    It'd be interesting to see how this year's batch go InshaAllah. I think Hammad won the series award last time MashaAllah and InshaAllah this time round youngsters like Babar Azam, Sami Aslam, Mohammad Nawaz, and Zia-ul-Haq make for a genuinely promising team.

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