New Islamabad United skipper Mohammad Sami has backed the likes of Shadab Khan and Faheem Ashraf to hit the ground running despite coming into the Pakistan Super League (PSL) on the back of a gruelling tour of South Africa.
Four Islamabad United players — Shadab, Faheem, Hussain Talat and Asif Ali — are currently part of the Pakistan side touring South Africa but Sami remains unworried about their fitness and doesn’t believe the side needs to resort to rotating them.
“They are professional cricketers who have a lot of experience behind them,” said Sami, while speaking to Samaa Digital. “I am sure they will be able to cope with the demands of the PSL and we wouldn’t have to adopt a rotation policy.”
The new skipper said his parents had always supported him during the early stages of his career. “All they ever demanded was that I balanced my studies along with my cricket. As long as I did that, they were always stood behind me during my early career.”
Sami, who has placed alongside and against legends, said he looked up to the likes of current Prime Minister Imran Khan and legendary left-arm pacer Wasim Akram when he was growing up.
“I was even lucky enough to play alongside Wasim, Waqar Younis and Shoaib Akhtar,” he said. “They, alongside Imran Khan, were the players I had always admired.”
Sami was part of some of the most heated episodes of the Pakistan-India rivalry and picked out two of their top-order batsmen as the most difficult he has ever faced.
“Virender Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar were two of the most difficult batsmen I have ever bowled to,” he said. “I came up against some of the greatest players of all time, so they were all very challenging to play against. Brian Lara and our very own Inzamam-ul-Haq were also two players who were very difficult to bowl to.”
Sami turns 38 this month but fitness has never been much of an issue for the pacer and he credits his interest in other sports for it.
“I play football too alongside my cricket,” he said. “So that really helps me with my cardio and fitness.”
Defending champions Islamabad take on perennial underachievers Lahore Qalandars in their first match but Sami believes there are no clear favourites in this PSL.
“All the teams have learned from their mistakes and have strengthened,” he said. “There are no easy teams and all six sides are very well-balanced. I am sure this will lead to an even more competitive and entertaining PSL this time around.”
The former Pakistan pacer is one of cricket’s most effortless proponent of pace bowling and he believes it is his technique as well as some god-gifted talent that helps him generate so much pace from such a short run-up.