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Named in the Pakistan Twenty20 squad for the one-off game against England, Sohail Tanvir spoke about the surprise recall and the challenges of the modern game and looked forward to the upcoming game in England.
 
By Amir Husain (3rd September, 2016)
 
After the highs of a superlative performance by Pakistan in Test matches in England, the attention has now shifted to the limited over formats where the news for the visitors is not good so far. The ODI series has been lost but more than the margin of loss is the manner of capitulation which has dismayed the Pakistan followers the most. The last game of the tour, an IT20 match at Old Trafford thus represents a final opportunity for Pakistan to repair their reputation in the shorter formats of the game.
 
Whilst the ODI ranking has continued on a downward spiral, Pakistan’s IT20 ranking has also not fared any better as they are precariously perched at the seventh position and it is due to this that the selection of the Twenty20 squad for the one-off game in England on the 7th of September has generated a lot of interest.
 
Amongst the players named in the squad for this game is the thirty-one-year-old all-rounder Sohail Tanvir. Having played two Test matches and sixty-two ODIs with varying degrees of success, the left-hander’s participation in the national team has been largely limited to the Twenty20 format where he has taken forty-seven wickets in fifty matches.
 
In exclusive remarks to PakPassion.net, Sohail Tanvir spoke about his feelings on being recalled once again to the national squad, his performance so far in the National Twenty20 Cup, the qualities needed for bowlers to succeed in the limited overs format and looked forward to the upcoming game against England.
 
Sohail last played for the national team in a Twenty20 game against England in the November of 2015. Despite being the fourth-highest wicket-taker in the Twenty20 format for Pakistan behind Shahid Afridi, Saeed Ajmal and Umar Gul, he was later discarded for tours of New Zealand, the Asia Cup and the World T20 in India. Whilst pleased with the announcement about being included in the squad for the upcoming Twenty20 game England, the all-rounder expressed his regrets about his exclusion in the past stating that “I am obviously overjoyed with another opportunity to represent Pakistan but I do wonder why I was side-lined in the first place. Being in and out of the team does take a mental toll on any player and it becomes that more difficult to establish a place for oneself in the team if this happens a lot. But thankfully I have never given up and continued working hard as I did in the Caribbean Premier League where I was the second highest wicket-taker with twenty wickets and had the best economy rate in the tournament as well. As always, it is an honour to serve Pakistan and I am looking forward to the game in England and hoping for the best.”
 
The opportunity to represent Pakistan is one that he will always cherish but given the history of being in-and-out of the team at the whim of selectors and perceived failures, Sohail Tanvir has no option but to take the disappointments of the past on the chin as he clearly understands that such periods are expected in any players’ career as he states “All one can do is give it their best shot whenever the chances are given but just like other players, I have good and bad games and my performances can suffer once in a while but what I need to do now is to concentrate and avail the chance given to me again. Obviously knowing that you can be dropped for one bad performance whilst others in a similar position can continue playing is distressing but once again, I will say that I am determined to do well in whatever chances I am given to play for Pakistan.”
 
With an excellent outing at the 2016 version of the Caribbean Premier League in his bag, Sohail does feel confident about the upcoming challenge if he is selected to play against England in the one-off Twenty20 game in Manchester. In his own words “Our ODI team has not performed to expectations in the recent past but our Twenty20 team does have a decent track record and the right components to make it to the top. All that is needed for us is to deliver winning performances and I am confident that with close to ten years of international experience and almost two hundred and eighty Twenty20 games under my belt, I am in a good position to play my part and bring us back on the winning track in this format.”
 
Pakistan’s ODI team has come under a lot of criticism in the recent past due to its failures in the series against England with well-known experts such as Nasser Hussain pointing to the inability of the team to adapt to the modern style of the 50-over game. Sohail Tanvir does feel that Pakistan need to move on with the times but whatever style of game is adopted, the fundamentals of the game for the bowlers will always remain constant.
 
“The game may have moved on but the basics will never change. This may not be true in Twenty20 games where the batsmen will take their chances even against good bowling but is definitely a fact for ODI games. Any bowler should be able to bowl Yorkers and have variety in their bowling if they are to succeed in the modern day game. What has changed is that the pitches are flatter in nature regardless of where you play in the world and rules are in favour of batsmen, so bowling analysis of bowlers need to be looked at differently. For example, a bowler ending up with fifty runs in ten overs would have been criticized in the past but in today’s game, these may well be good figures. The mindset for 50-over games needs to change as batsmen for the teams now need to be able to score those big runs instead of expecting their bowlers to be able to contain opposing sides to low totals.”
 
Participation in the ongoing National Twenty20 Cup will undoubtedly help Sohail in his preparation for the upcoming challenge in England in which he hopes to put in a performance which could go a long way in establishing him in the national team for a longer period of time, “I am bowling with good rhythm in this tournament and have put in some decent performances which really is a continuation of how I bowled in the Caribbean, and I do hope to carry the same form into international cricket for Pakistan”, he concluded.