Hussain Talat’s aggressive style of batting has won him many plaudits when it comes to the shortest form of the game. He has represented Pakistan 14 times in T20Is scoring a total of 371 runs at a strike rate of 120.06 and has featured in 1 ODI. His record with PSL side Islamabad United where he has amassed a total of 402 runs over the three seasons is one that makes him a key player for the franchise.
In an exclusive interview with PakPassion.net, Talat spoke about his record in T20Is for Pakistan, his aspirations to represent Pakistan in more ODIs and looked forward to selection for the Pakistan squad for the upcoming series against Sri Lanka and subsequently for the T20 World Cup in 2020.
By Amir Husain (14th September, 2019)PakPassion.net: Would you say that it is a loss in form that has prevented you from progressing in your international career?
Hussain Talat: This is not entirely true as I performed well in the domestic season last year and I have so far represented Pakistan in 14 T20Is. In the T20I series against South Africa which preceded this year’s PSL, I played three games in which I had scores of 40 and 55 in the first two matches whilst I did not do too well in the last game. So, I feel that overall my performance in the Twenty20 format has been very good with a T20I average of about 29. I feel that I have contributed very well in every series that I have played for Pakistan. Obviously, I would have liked to play in more ODIs as I have had only one opportunity to represent my country so far which was in South Africa. The ICC World Cup 2019 was the next major assignment for Pakistan and since I had not played many One-Day games, I was not considered for the squad. I was also told by the team management that the sole T20I game to be played in England would feature only the players selected for the World Cup squad so I did not play in that, otherwise I have participated in 14 of the 20 T20I games that Pakistan has played since my debut and I am hopeful that given my past performances for Pakistan, I will be named in the upcoming T20I series against Sri Lanka.PakPassion.net: Do you feel you could have done better in the T20I series against South Africa?
Hussain Talat: I feel satisfied with my performances because where I scored 40 and 55 those were tough conditions to play in. My only regret is that our team lost the series and my good scores could not help in that respect.PakPassion.net: Does being marked as a T20 specialist bother you and do you wish to make a name for yourself in ODIs as well?
Hussain Talat: I am very much committed to making a name for myself in ODIs for Pakistan. As we know that Shoaib Malik has retired from ODIs and so there is a vacant position which I feel I can fill. My goal is to play for Pakistan in ODIs and I will work hard towards achieving that. In T20Is, I was given a proper chance to showcase my skills with a good batting position at number 3. In the same way, I am hoping that I will be given an opportunity to shine at a good batting position in ODIs and that I will be given consistent chances to prove myself. This is important in international cricket as it’s a high-pressure environment so a proper chance is necessary for a new player to perform and I am hoping that this will be the case for me as well.
PakPassion.net: Are you looking forward to selection for the Pakistan squad for T20 World Cup in 2020?
Hussain Talat: First of all, I am very proud of the fact that Pakistan is ranked number one in T20Is as I feel that this is a great achievement. We have held this position since the time I was first selected for the Pakistan squad after PSL 3 and it’s a matter of great honour for me that all the T20I series I have played for Pakistan has seen them perform well. It is my goal to perform well in all the upcoming T20I series so that I make myself a good selection option for the T20 World Cup 2020.PakPassion.net: How do you feel about the new domestic structure introduced by the PCB?
Hussain Talat: I am looking forward to being part of this new structure which has a reduced number of sides. I feel that the intensity of competition in this new structure will be very high, and this will make for an enjoyable experience for all players. I have spoken to other players at the NCA during training and they all have a similar view. We all think that due to the rise in the level of competition brought on by these changes, we will need to work very hard and perform to the best of our abilities. Everyone I have spoken to is looking forward to putting in that extra effort to perform well in the upcoming season.PakPassion.net: Will the standard of cricket also improve in domestic cricket due to the recently announced reforms?
Hussain Talat: From what I understand of the changes being made, the standard of cricket will definitely become better. For one thing, the use of the Kookaburra ball which is the same ball used in Pakistan international home assignments should make a big difference in the quality of games that will be played. Of course, we will be able to judge things better once the season starts with the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy.PakPassion.net: Are you still contracted with Islamabad United in the PSL?Hussain Talat: As far as I know, nothing has changed in terms of my association with Islamabad but then no retentions have been announced yet. I am hopeful that based on my previous performances, I will stay with Islamabad United in the next season of the PSL.PakPassion.net: Does the prospect of playing more games in Pakistan in the next PSL excite you?
Hussain Talat: This is a hugely important development for Pakistan cricket. What this means is that PSL games will be played in grounds in our country where we normally play domestic cricket. It will be great for players and fans alike to watch PSL games in Karachi, Lahore, Rawalpindi and Faisalabad. This will be great news for our spectators and also for our future players who will be inspired by watching such high-quality cricket at home grounds.PakPassion.net: The absence of 10 Sri Lankan cricketers in the upcoming series in Pakistan must be very disappointing for you?
Hussain Talat: I, like all well-wishers of cricket, am of course very disappointed by the decision of the 10 Sri Lankan cricketers to not come to Pakistan to play the ODI and T20I series. All of us would like to see international cricket restored in Pakistan and would love to see international cricketers visit this beautiful country of ours. In my younger days, I was inspired to play for Pakistan as I watched England play matches in Faisalabad or India play in Karachi. Similarly, watching international teams on home soil would be a great experience for aspiring youngsters and would encourage them to play for Pakistan. I remember that it used to be a huge occasion when teams from other countries would visit Pakistan and I really used to enjoy those matches. For those worried about the security situation in Pakistan, let me point out that we have had PSL matches being played in Pakistan for the last three years. Security, in my view, is of a top-level, the arrangements and facilities are of a high-quality as well so I am hoping that international sides will come and play matches in Pakistan.PakPassion.net: Are you excited about the appointment of Misbah-ul-Haq and Waqar Younis as Head Coach and Bowling Coach respectively?
Hussain Talat: The tremendous experience that Misbah-ul-Haq and Waqar Younis bring to the table is unbeatable. We were lucky to have Waqar Younis as our bowling coach at Islamabad United and we all learned a lot from him during that time. Misbah was our captain for three seasons and was the winning captain on two occasions so we have seen his impressive leadership and skills at close quarters. Hopefully we will be able to make good use of the immense experience that both these legendary players have for our benefit and Pakistan cricket will move on to greater heights due to their appointments.PakPassion.net: What is the reason for the recent rise of youngsters such as Babar Azam and yourself and does that fill you with hope for the future of Pakistan cricket?
Hussain Talat: I would say that the PSL has had a lot to do with the emergence of good quality young players in Pakistan cricket. Players like Shadab Khan, Asif Ali, Faheem Ashraf and I are all products of the emerging category of cricketers in the PSL. The fact is that a tournament featuring international players and one that is broadcast around the world has given international exposure to our youngsters which has been very beneficial. The emergence of talented young cricketers from the PSL is a great sign for the future of the game and of course for Pakistan cricket.PakPassion.net: Over time, you seemed to have changed from a bowling all-rounder into a batting all-rounder?
Hussain Talat: To be honest, I have always considered myself to be nothing more than a proper batsman. I started my cricket as an opening batsman and would also play at the number 3 or 4 position too. But I also had a desire to bowl medium-fast, however my father always insisted that I try my hand at leg-spin as in his view fast-bowling was a difficult task. So, during the first year of my career I used to bowl leg-spin in club cricket games. I only started to bowl medium-fast when I started playing at the Under-16 level but in terms of batting, I have always been a batsman who would come in at the top-order of the line-up.PakPassion.net: What are your aims for the upcoming domestic and international season?
Hussain Talat: I am very excited about the upcoming season and have been preparing for the past 3-4 months at the NCA to get myself ready. I have been practising hard at the NCA with the coaches to work on any areas of my game that needed to be refined. There is no let-up in my preparations for this season and the only aim in my mind is to put in good performances in the upcoming season and I hope and pray that I will be successful in my aims.