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The Rediff Cricket Interview
/ Yasir Hameed
'Why are the other openers playing?'
Harish Kotian |
March 23, 2005
Pakistan opener Yasir Hameed, who was ignored for the first two Tests in the series against India, slammed coach Bob Woolmer, saying he does not have time for players not in the playing eleven.
"So far there hasn't been a lot of interaction with Woolmer. He concentrates only on the players who are part of the team," he told rediff.com Cricket Correspondent Harish Kotian in Kolkata.
"Still, I feel Woolmer has helped me a lot."
The 27-year-old opener is perplexed at not being able to find a place in the Pakistan team in spite of having a Test average of 42.62 after playing 14 Tests and scoring 1,023 runs, that include two centuries and six half-centuries.
"I don't know what is going on. I don't know why the other openers are playing in my place. I have done well but I haven't got a chance to play in India," he moaned.
"But I am hungry and trying to get back into the team and I take this as a challenge. I am sure that once I get the chance I will perform to the best of my abilities and score lots of runs."
Hameed, who made his mark in international cricket scoring two centuries on debut (170 and 105) against Bangladesh in August 2003, said it is very annoying and difficult to watch the match "when you are not part of the team."
"If I sit out and get no chance it is frustrating. You need a chance to prove yourself, which I am not getting right now."
Hameed, who bats mostly at No 3 for Pakistan, said he is even ready to open the innings since it is the only available spot in the team.
"There is no place in the middle order. The only place open in the team is the openers' slots. There are around 4-5 players who are competing for those places, so there is lots of competition," he said.
Hameed was one of the bright spots for Pakistan in an otherwise lacklustre performance in Australia in December-January, when they were thumped 3-0 in the Test series.
Asked to open the innings in the third Test at Sydney, he scored 58 and 63 in the two innings.
"I scored two half-centuries in my last Test against Australia. I could not believe when I was not in the team for the first Test against India at Mohali. It was surprising that I was not picked.
"If even after scoring two half-centuries in your last Test you are not picked in the team, then I don't know what to do."
Hameed said he had no problems with swashbuckling all-rounder Shahid Afridi opening the innings in the second Test at Kolkata.
"Afridi opening the innings is a team decision, taken for the benefit of the team. The team management feels the move will benefit the team and, hence, he had been asked to open the innings."
During India's tour of Pakistan last year, Hameed sparkled in the One-Day Internationals. He scored 238 in five matches at 47.60, with two half-centuries that included the match-winning innings of 98 in the third ODI in Peshawar.
"We enjoy playing against India. It's always fun playing against them and it really brings out the best in us."
He said former Pakistan captains Rameez Raja and Aamir Sohail, now in India doing television commentary, helped him with his batting.
"Both of them were world-class players in their time. They have helped me with my batting. I had a chat with Rameez and he helped with some technical inputs on my batting."
After the Mohali Test, Sohail, in an interview to rediff.com, had called for Hameed's inclusion in the team for the second Test.
Pakistan tried two different opening combinations in the two Tests against India. While Afridi sizzled at Kolkata, scoring a quickfire 88, the other two openers -- Taufeeq Umar and Salman Butt -- struggled.
Umar scored 101 in the two Tests for a lowly return of 25.25, while Butt looked out of place at Mohali, scoring only 10 runs in the two innings of the first Test.
Given a place in the squad, Hameed is confident he will surely score the runs Pakistan are desperately looking for.
With the third Test coming up in Bangalore tomorrow, will Woolmer and skipper Inzamam-ul Haq heed his plea?
Photograph: Rob Elliott/AFP/Getty Images