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An Interview with u19 captain Azeem Ghumman

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

  1. Offline

    Mercenary

    Joined: Dec 17, 2009
    Posts: 11,201
    Likes: 3,645
    Points: 113
    An Exclusive Interview with Pakistan u19 captain Azeem Ghumman

    by Abdul Habib
    29th January 2010


    [IMG]


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

    Azeem Ghumman:
    Thank you. We've got this far on the strength of everyone's duas (prayers) so please keep making dua for us to win the final.


    Cricistan.com: What were your realistic expectations for this World Cup, were you sure that you'd go all the way?

    Azeem Ghumman:
    I can't speak for anyone else and perhaps some people didn't have confidence in our ability but from a personal perspective I always believed that we had the talent to go all the way. There's no other country in the world that can match the talent that Pakistan has at u19 level, just look at the last four u19 World Cups. We reached the final 3 times and still got to the semi-final the other time.


    Cricistan.com: There's been a lot of talk about the decision to play Mohammad Waqas as a makeshift keeper, whose idea was that and how do you think it has worked out?

    Azeem Ghumman:
    It was my idea and I wouldn't call him a makeshift keeper. When I was playing in Karachi I saw Waqas playing as a wicket keeper in Grade II cricket and he even played as a wicket keeper in his first class debut. Ijaz Ahmed and the others weren't aware that Waqas had previously played as a keeper so I floated the idea of asking him to put on the gloves. This meant that we could play a genuine batsman at number 7 followed by our all-rounders which gave us a very strong lower order. I'm sure you've seen for yourself that Waqas has responded to the challenge really well.


    Cricistan.com: I was worried by a few fumbles in his first game but since then he seems to have settled and is doing a good job.

    Azeem Ghumman:
    Actually the conditions in New Zealand are very different to what we have back home and even our regular keeper had some problems following the ball. The game where Waqas took up the gloves was the first time he had kept wicket in over a year, so it's not surprising that he took a few overs to get going. When I asked him if he would be happy to take over as wicket keeper he didn't hesitate and I'm glad he agreed because he's played some important knocks for us down the order.


    Cricistan.com: So he's going to keep the gloves for the final then?

    Azeem Ghumman:
    Yes he'll be playing..


    Cricistan.com: Will there be any changes for the final or are you happy with the semi final line-up?

    Azeem Ghumman:
    I can't foresee any major changes but in the end it will depend on the pitch and weather conditions. For example, if the pitch looks like it may turn then we may make a change based on that. Luckily for us all of our players are fit and in good form so we can pick the best XI for the conditions.


    Cricistan.com: Would you agree that (so far) your three star performers have been Babar Azam, Hammad Azam and Raza Hassan?

    Azeem Ghumman:
    Yes all 3 have been very good. Hammad Azam is a fantastic fielder who bowls tight spells and is a match-winning batsman too. Hammad has been a revelation during this tour and is a great all-round talent for Pakistan. Babar Azam's performance is there for all to see and Raza Hassan has every variety you can think of! The three players you've mentioned have taken the accolades but they've been supported by a very solid unit. Our whole team has worked very hard and we've all supported each other every step of the way.


    Cricistan.com: This is Ahmed Shahzad's second u19 World Cup, have you been picking his brains?

    Azeem Ghumman:
    I've consulted with him on a few occasions but I'm not exactly an inexperienced cricketer myself. I made my first class debut in 2007 and have played 17 first class games already. I've been captaining teams from a very young age and our coach, Ijaz Ahmed, is always there to guide and advise me too.


    Cricistan.com: I noticed that our top 6 batsmen are all openers. Yourself, Babar, Shahzad, Rameez, Ahsan and Hammad are better known for opening the innings. It can't have been easy for all of you to adjust to your new roles.

    Azeem Ghumman:
    You missed Mohammad Waqas at number 7, he's an opening batsman as well. We dont have any middle order batsmen to choose from, it's not easy to play out of position but we're all adjusting to our new roles as best as we can.


    Cricistan.com: Do you know if opening batsmen were deliberately chosen to combat the seaming conditions in New Zealand or if all the best u19 batsmen just happened to be openers?

    Azeem Ghumman:
    I didn't select the team so I don't know the answer to that. We just work with the team that we get from the selectors. What I do know is that the selectors put together a very good squad that I'm proud to captain.


    Cricistan.com: I've only seen the last two games and you played some nice shots off the middle of the bat, from what little I saw you seemed to be in good touch. You've made a couple of 40's but you haven't been able to convert your starts into a big score. Does it have anything to do with you playing out of your normal position as an opener?

    Azeem Ghumman:
    Batting in the middle order is a new experience for me, this is the first time I've batted at 4 or 5. I made 49 against the West Indies and got out trying to accelerate the run rate in the last 10 overs, I suppose I could have slowed down and got my 50 but then we wouldnt have got the big score that helped us put pressure on their batsmen. And the same thing happened against Papa New Guinea where I got out on 40 trying to increase our net run rate. I've always known that opening the innings is a tough job but now I've got a new appreciation of what a number 4 or 5 batsman goes through, it's not an easy job at all.


    Cricistan.com: I agree with you, most matches hinge around how those number 4 and 5 batsmen cope with the start they get from the top order.

    Azeem Ghumman:
    Yes that's exactly my point. Playing at that position you have to be able to play both defesively and aggressively with equal skill. At least as an opener you go out there knowing whether you will be aggressive or defensive, you have your role to play. But batting at 4 or 5 you're at the mercy of the top order batsmen and they dictate how you will play. If they get off to a good solid start then you have to come in all guns blazing trying to push up the run rate. But if the top order get out for a low score then you have to come out and rescue the team by batting carefully and solidly until the opposition bowlers come down off the high they get from taking those early wickets. It's a difficult place to bat but I'm learning a lot which will help me build on my skills as a batsman.


    Cricistan.com: Thank you for taking the time out to talk to Cricistan.com and best of luck in the final. Is there anything you'd like to add?

    Azeem Ghumman:
    I'd like to say that I'm very proud of my team for getting to the final, they've played as a unit and we've all worked together towards the same goal. Ask everyone to keep praying for us in the final.
  2. Offline

    Feather

    Joined: Dec 19, 2009
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    I really like his thoughts about the middle order batsman. Most fans are always hyping up the opening position and think those batting in the middle order have it easy. Its good now that he realizes that everyone in the team has a tough job do and playing as unit can bring in positive results.

    My best wishes to Azeem and the rest of the team lets all hope they win the WC.
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    Big Daddy

    Joined: Dec 21, 2009
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    Brilliant interview. This team is playing with a flavor that has been the hallmark of previously successful pakistani teams. no fear and focus that undermines all that comes foray. play on merit and we should make light work of the aussie juggernaut. i think tomorrow keys would be the 2 spin twins. and dare i say, pakistan would be chasing a smallish target. Nostradamus out.
  4. Offline

    iDone

    Joined: Jan 25, 2010
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    MashaAllah great interview, best wishes for him and all the team for the final.
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    Nadeem

    Joined: Dec 22, 2009
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    Great work Merc.

    Ghumman seems to have a level head, Inshallah for the sake of Pakistan cricket they can bring some joy back something the seniors haven't been able to do in Australia.
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    dr aziz

    Joined: Jan 27, 2010
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    I think he should open in the final and Ahmed Shehzad should play at # 4....
  7. Offline

    Big Daddy

    Joined: Dec 21, 2009
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    cant touch this!!!!!
  8. Offline

    Feather

    Joined: Dec 19, 2009
    Posts: 2,206
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    :) What a calculated guess! ab to app bhai CPA ban gey ho!
  9. Offline

    Mercenary

    Joined: Dec 17, 2009
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    Anything over 180 isnt a small target in a World Cup final, especially in NZ conditions.
  10. Offline

    Big Daddy

    Joined: Dec 21, 2009
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    the reality is in a 50 over game anything under 4.5 should be a walk in the park unless its a day 5 mine field or a day 1 scorcher. this is neither, that said i was expecting 180ish but pakistan inshallah should reach the target without much blood shed.
  11. Offline

    Big Daddy

    Joined: Dec 21, 2009
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    kamikazee is in the blood
  12. Offline

    LBW

    Joined: Jul 18, 2010
    Posts: 309
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    Future Captain material

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