Friday, 22 February 2013

An interaction with Ehsan Adil

The interview was conducted after his selection for the South Africa tour.
By Muhammad Asif Khan

Hard work always pays, and EHSAN ADIL is an example:
Pakistan has been a fortunate nation when it comes to sports and especially Cricket. Despite of the fragile infrastructure the supply of the talented players continues at every level, however the transition from a lower to the top level has not been up to the mark lately and due to this very fact, a fair amount of talent fades away.

The younger lot is exuberant and recent showing is indicative of the fact the future of Pakistan cricket is safe provided the smooth transition is taken care of adequately.

Talking about upcoming players reminds the recent U19 Cricket World Cup, where Pakistan’s performance wasn’t impressive but a few youngsters caught everybody’s attention and 19-year old, Ehsan Adil was one of them, who finally made it to the National squad, Presently in South Africa, to take on the mighty hosts.

Very much like many others the journey to the top wasn’t that easy for Ehsan Adil either. Since childhood, the Mureedkay born all-rounder had a dream to wear the Green cap one day, and now he is on the verge of achieving this goal but his upward voyage has not been a smooth sailing.

Early days:
“Cricket was my passion since childhood and I used to imitate Waqar Younis and Glenn McGrath after watching them on TV”, recalled Ehsan Adil who started playing the game with a taped tennis ball similar to the majority in Pakistan.

In 2000, when he was only 7-year old, the family shifted to Gojra from Mureedkay, where Ehsan continued with his fervour for Cricket and kept on playing with the tennis ball.

First competitive level:
“I joined a local club – Gojra Friends – where the in-charge, Lala Ijaz Khan, advised me to concentrate on bowling more, which I did.” Ehsan Adil

Adil kept on performing and impressing not only his mates but the other teams in the area too. One day he was told by an opposing team member to try his luck at the Faisalabad region’s Under-15 trails.

Turning Point:
While terming his entry to the Faisalabad Under-15 outfit the turning point in his career, Ehsan Adil also shared an interesting episode attached to it.

“In the trials, I was provided with a few delivers, which I felt were not enough. In dejection I said something to my friend which was heard by one of the selectors passing by, who said that was enough for them. Later I found my name in the selected bunch”

Later, the inspirational show at the U-15 level brought Ehsan Adil to the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in 2007, where Aaqib Javed modified his action a little.

The next level – Pakistan U-19:
After U-15 and a stint at the NCA, Ehsan played for regional Under-16 team and then entered the Under-19 outfit of the region.

In 2011, Ehsan Adil captained the Faisalabad Under-19 team during the regional tournament. He performed very well throughout but his match winning performance in the final against Pindi was exceptional. With more than 500 runs and 46 wickets, Ehsan Adil was selected for the Pakistan U-19 team touring South Africa where he lived up to the expectations.

U-19 Asia Cup & a sensational match against India:
On the basis of his performances in South Africa, Ehsan Adil was chosen for the U19 Asia Cup in Malaysia. Pakistan and India played the final match which was ended in a tie, and both the teams were declared joint winners. Ehsan’s performance in the nerve-racking encounter was instrumental.

 India needed seven runs in the last over and I dismissed two players including the captain on 122”, Ehsan Adil.

The U-19 World Cup:
The lanky pacer continued his match-wining stuff and helped Pakistan win the away series against South Africa with his all-round performance. Later in the U-19 World Cup, the Pakistan team was below par, but Ehsan stood out and caught the eyes of the top domestic teams of the country.

Entry to the top domestic circuit:
After the Under-19 World Cup, Ehsan Adil was offered a place by Pakistan’s top domestic teams but he opted for Habib Bank Limited (HBL) on the advice of Sabih Azhar.

Magical words of the Sports Head:
“Senior guys like Younus Khan and Imran Farhat were very encouraging but the words of Abdul Raqeeb elevated my confidence to a different level”. “He [Raqeeb] said I could play for Pakistan in one year’s time”, said Ehsan Adil.

In the President’s Cup matches, Ehsan Adil lived up to the expectation and showed a lot of promise with both bat and ball. He scored 121 runs and took 53 wickets.

Almost there:
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) organised a T20 tournament just before the Indian trip, and in view of the heartening performance in the event, Ehsan Adil became the talk of the town. With the notable run of form, Adil was seen as certain for the India-bound squad however his luck didn’t favour him. The younger was unmoved upon the non-selection but his family, he said, was a bit depressed.

“Hopes of my family were very high therefore they were understandably disappointed, but I have no complaints whatsoever. My job is to keep on performing and leave the rest to the selectors”, said Ehsan Adil

Finally there:
The selectors left him out of the India tour, his family was dejected but the youngster showed big heart and accepted the decision.

“God must have thought something better for me, now my focus is on the upcoming tour of South Africa."

And God granted his prayers, and the selectors expressed faith in Ehsan Adil for the tough tour of South Africa.

The all-rounder is aware of the importance and delicacy of the chance he got, and upbeat to retain his hard-earned place in the National team. 

“My past experience on South African track would come handy; I will try and perform to the best of my abilities”, concludes Ehsan Adil.

The writer is a Pakistani sports journalist, and tweets @mak_asif

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