Daring young Pakistan batsman Haider Ali could make a big impact if he is unleashed during the upcoming ODI series against South Africa.
The Green Shirts are slight underdogs for the three-match series which gets underway on Friday in Centurion, but there’s plenty of talent in the touring party.
Shaheen Shah Afridi will be key to their hopes of bowling out the Proteas, but another 20-year-old could play a big role with the willow in hand.
Pakistan batsman Haider Ali could make big ODI impact
Swashbuckling batsman Haider Ali isn’t a guaranteed pick, given that he only made his debut in Pakistan’s last ODI series against Zimbabwe in November 2020.
He didn’t manage to stand out in either of his two outings in that series, either, recording scores of 29 and 13.
However, the right-hander’s talent was clear for all to see when he struck 54 against England at Old Trafford on T20I debut a few months previous, while he has also shone on the domestic circuit in the 50-over format.
He averages 45.69 from 13 List A innings’ and his strike-rate is an outstanding 90.54 [ESPNCricinfo].
Pakistan need firepower in the batting lineup to complement the approach of touch players like Imam-ul-Haq and Babar Azam, and Haider Ali can provide it.
He’s still inexperienced both at the domestic and international level and is very much learning on the job.
As a result, he won’t always get it right and there will be times when he frustrates.
However, with the T20 World Cup only around six months away and the 50-over version coming up in 2023, he needs as many opportunities as possible to find his feet at the top level.
The swashbuckling young batsman will be tested by high-quality pace bowlers like Kagiso Rabada and Lungi Ngidi, but he has the talent to shine in South Africa as Pakistan look to return to ODI cricket with a bang.