By Sajid Sadiq, Chief Editor, PakPassion
They say that the world of sport needs entertainers, those passionate, unorthodox and eccentric characters who fill stadiums and bring smiles to the faces of fans. These are the sort of people that spectators around the world watch with anticipation as nobody knows what will happen next when they are on the field. Sadly, the world of sport may be short of such characters these days, but in Hasan Ali, cricket has an entertainer extraordinaire and a man who makes fans smile, scratch their head in disbelief and at the same time admire his skills and ability.
Hasan Ali is the sort of cricketer every team wants. A team-man, hungry for success, and one who gives his all whether it be with the ball, bat or in the field. Nothing is a lost cause for Hasan, and he is every captain’s dream. He is a showman, one could say, he is the right-handed and Pakistani cricketing version of Ben Stokes, the sort of man who is loved by his team-mates and keeps the dressing room morale high even when the going gets tough. A smile, a sledge, some advice for a team-mate or his skipper, or even some sort of mischief is never too far away from Hasan.
As well as being a major force with the ball, Hasan is a fast-improving lower-order batsman who like most lower-order cricketers loves nothing better than to see the ball fly into the stands off the middle of his bat. With 2 international half-centuries to his name, Hasan has proved that he is no mug with the bat and has the ability to thrill and entertain fans with the willow as he proved recently in a ODI in Durban against South Africa.
The World Cup later this year presents both Pakistan and Hasan Ali the opportunity to show the world of cricket that the Champions Trophy win was not a fluke. On 29th June, fans at Emerald Headingley will get the opportunity to see Hasan Ali up against the ever-improving Afghanistan in what promises to be a breath-taking and eagerly anticipated encounter. A huge crowd is expected at the home of Yorkshire County Cricket Club and whilst a few years ago most would have predicted a one-sided match in favour of Pakistan, nowadays the Afghans are a totally different kettle of fish. Much improved and having the capability to beat any of the top sides, the Afghanistan team may cause a surprise or two in the World Cup and Pakistan could be one of the major teams that they look to shock.
Whatever the outcome is on 29th June, one thing is certain, Hasan Ali will be giving his all for the Pakistani cause and will certainly be one to watch for fans at Emerald Headingley.
Royal London One-Day International tickets
Emerald Headingley will host the Fifth Royal London One Day International between England and Pakistan in May 2019.
Pakistan will be facing England in the Fifth Royal London One Day International on Sunday 19th May (11am start) and will be eager to make-up for their four-wicket defeat in September 2016.
Hasan made his international debut in August 2016 against Ireland in an ODI at Dublin. Since his debut he has chalked-up 79 appearances for Pakistan which are made up of nine Tests, 43 ODIs and 27 T20Is. Injury-permitting, he has been a regular pick in the shorter formats, whilst of late he has also been awarded Test caps on a fairly regular basis. A skilful seam bowler who bowls much faster than most batsmen expect him to and who has the ability to seam and swing the ball both ways, as well as reverse-swing the old ball with ease. Hasan also has the ability to bowl a slippery bouncer as well as a fantastic and well-disguised slower-ball.
At the age of only 24 Hasan has become a popular and familiar face around the cricketing world and what has made him even more recognisable is his exuberant wicket-taking celebration. Described in his own words as a bomb explosion, Hasan’s wicket-taking celebration is a sight to behold. However, he has had to tone the celebration down a little after injuring himself whilst performing the celebration last year during an ODI against Zimbabwe. The Pakistan Cricket Board medics may cringe every time he performs the wicket-taking celebration and they may have told him to change the celebration, but Hasan has ignored the advice and not given up on it.
33 wickets in 27 T20Is, 76 wickets in 43 ODIs and 31 wickets in nine Tests are numbers which prove what a formidable opponent for batsmen Hasan is and what a fantastic performer he has been for Pakistan. A wicket-taking option whether with the new ball, the middle-overs or with the old ball, Hasan had a major role in Pakistan’s magnificent and surprising Champions Trophy win in 2017 in England. During the tournament Hasan proved to be the go-to bowler for his skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed and he was named man of the tournament after some superb displays for his country and after taking 13 wickets in the tournament. The Champions Trophy of 2017 showed the watching world what a fine bowler Hasan was and a cricketer not to be underestimated.