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  1. #1
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    "I feel that I have improved a lot as a cricketer since my comeback" : Sharjeel Khan

    Whilst Sharjeel Khan made his debut for Pakistan in 2013, the aggressive left-handed opener shot to fame in the opening edition of the PSL where he scored 117 off 62 balls for Islamabad United against Peshawar Zalmi to take his side to the final where they beat Quetta Gladiators by 6 wickets. With 41 international appearances to his name, it appeared that he was heading towards establishing himself in the Pakistan Limited Overs side until he was found guilty of corrupt practices during the 2017 edition of the PSL, and banned for 5 years, 2 and a half of which were suspended. After serving his ban and offering an apology, Sharjeel returned to professional cricket to play for Karachi Kings in PSL 5 and has since been taking part in the 2020/21 domestic season.

    In an exclusive interview with PakPassion.net, Sharjeel spoke about the tough time away from cricket during his ban, why the loss of Dean Jones was devastating for him, his aims to work on his fitness and to do well in the domestic season, his impressions of the changes made to the domestic structure and his goal of making an international comeback.



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    PakPassion.net: Looking back, how tough was the prospect of facing a 5-year ban from all cricket?

    Sharjeel Khan:
    That was one of the toughest times of my life, but I donít want to dwell on it any further. What I am thinking about and looking forward to is my future career. I have some plans for the future to take my cricket forward and to enjoy whatever time is left for me in the game. That is all I am looking at and the past is of no interest to me. There is no doubt about the fact that the time I was away from cricket was a very tough time not just for me but also for my family, but itís over now and I am focussed on what is ahead of me rather than the past.


    PakPassion.net: Did it bother you when Mohammad Hafeez publicly expressed his opposition to the return of banned cricketers?

    Sharjeel Khan:
    Since my return to cricket when I played in PSL 5, my concentration and focus has been on ensuring that I put in good performances. I am not one to watch television or worry about what is said on social media, so I was not aware if something like this was said about me. Obviously, everyone has their own opinions and frankly speaking, all that does not bother me.


    PakPassion.net: Were you accepted by other players when you returned to cricket during PSL 5?

    Sharjeel Khan:
    I am very pleased to say that there was no problem of acceptance, and I was given a lot of encouragement and support by Karachi Kings. In particular Wasim Akram, the Late Dean Jones and our captain Imad Wasim, who I have been playing alongside since our Under-19 days, all went out of their way to support me. I was also very happy with my comeback on the field and pleased about the welcome I received from the whole Karachi team and the fans as well.


    PakPassion.net: How difficult was it to make a comeback into professional cricket after not playing any games for a while?

    Sharjeel Khan:
    To make a comeback at any stage of your career is always difficult. This can even be the case for players who have been playing regularly and find themselves excluded from the team for whatever reason, and then have to make a comeback to the side. But, in my case, I had a lot of trust and faith in my abilities and I knew that I had performed well in the past and had the skills to repeat those performances. I was also lucky to be able to get some good training time before the start of PSL 5 and that translated into good performances once the tournament started.


    PakPassion.net: How difficult was it to deal with the loss of Dean Jones who was a great supporter for your return to cricket?

    Sharjeel Khan:
    This was a loss not for just me but for the game of cricket as Dean Jonesí contributions to cricket were well-known and recognized as well. On a personal level, I saw first-hand the human side of Dean Jones and his kindness will be missed by all. My association with Deano goes back to the first edition of PSL when I was playing for Islamabad United and he was our coach at that time. He was a great admirer of my batting and I for one was lucky to have learnt a lot from him about batting and cricket in general. He gave me valuable advice about on-the-field and off-the-field matters and to me, Deanoís loss was a huge setback and as it obviously was for the game of cricket.


    PakPassion.net: You seem to have had mixed fortunes with the bat after your return to the game?

    Sharjeel Khan:
    Obviously, as this is my first year after my comeback so some ups and downs are expected. I donít feel that my form is that bad but as always, there is always room for improvement. My performances in the Quaid-e-Azam trophy have given me a lot of confidence. My intention is to carry on doing well and continue to be amongst the top scoring openers in this tournament. At the moment, I have 634 runs in 7 games and am averaging over 48 in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy and hopefully this run of good form will continue for me in the remainder of the tournament.


    PakPassion.net: Have you had to make changes to your batting style in recent times or are you continuing with the old approach?

    Sharjeel Khan:
    I have the same approach to my batting that I had before, which brought me success in international cricket as well. I have been playing with a positive intent in T20 games which is very satisfying for me. I suppose attacking cricket is a core part of my game and itís in my nature and to play in a defensive mode is not possible for me. As a naturally aggressive stroke player, I have always played attacking cricket and will continue to do so. Of course, the absence from the professional game for three years does take its toll and it does take time to improve and get back into form. But I feel that I have improved a lot as a cricketer since my comeback at the beginning of the year and am feeling very comfortable whilst batting. So, things are looking good for me and I am looking forward to the Pakistan One-Day Cup and I hope to continue improving further in the future.


    PakPassion.net: Is a lack of fitness a concern for you, given that you have resumed playing after a long gap?

    Sharjeel Khan:
    That is true but let me also say that even during the time I wasnít playing cricket, I would look for opportunities to train and maintain my fitness which is something I am still doing after my comeback. I have been given fitness plans by my domestic coaches and also by PSL staff and I am glad to say that I am following them to the letter, and my fitness is improving day by day.


    PakPassion.net: How far is a return to international cricket for you?

    Sharjeel Khan:
    Every professional cricketer hopes to play for his country, and I am no different. Having experienced the feeling of representing Pakistan, I can safely say that there is no other feeling that matches the pride of the moment when you step on the field for your country. Of course, itís in my mind to do whatever I can to make a comeback for Pakistan but at this time, my focus is to do well in domestic cricket. If I can perform well in domestic cricket, then hopefully that will open doors for an international return at some point in the future.


    PakPassion.net: Were you a little disappointed after being overlooked for Pakistanís tour of New Zealand?

    Sharjeel Khan:
    Absolutely not, as I was happy that I got a chance to play in domestic cricket which would allow me to regain my form, and to improve my fitness. To not be named in the touring squad for New Zealand was not a worry for me as I am convinced that with the Almightyís help, I will have plenty of opportunities to play cricket in the future. My aim at the moment is to take things one step at a time, to perform well in domestic cricket and continue improving in all aspects of the game, and then make a comeback for Pakistan.


    PakPassion.net: Given that you are 31 now, are you concerned that your international opportunities may be limited in future?

    Sharjeel Khan:
    I am not in the habit of thinking too far ahead as immediate goals interest me more. In fact, I donít even think about the past Ė itís the present and what I can do now to help my career is what I think about. Yes I am 31 now and most importantly, I am enjoying my cricket with an eye to making a comeback to the Pakistan side. But for that to happen, I will need to perform exceptionally well in domestic cricket which is all I am focussed on doing.


    PakPassion.net: What are your impressions of the new domestic structure introduced by the PCB?

    Sharjeel Khan:
    This is my first season after the changes were made to the domestic structure and I am very impressed by this new environment. There is a feeling of a new energy being introduced in our cricket due to this, and I am feeling very excited to be part of this change. The fact that there are now just 6 teams involving top quality players means that the level of competition is that much higher and itís a challenging environment. Above all, we are all enjoying this type of cricket and most importantly, a lot of highly talented youngsters have also emerged. The quality of competition is far superior to what it was and I am sure the matches are very exciting for all those who are following the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy this year.


    PakPassion.net: Whilst you donít want to think too far ahead, what are your short-term goals?

    Sharjeel Khan:
    At the moment, I am looking to continue performing well in the remaining games of the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy and after that I am aiming to do my best in the Pakistan One-Day Cup. Once these tournaments are over, my attention will turn to next yearís PSL and to do my best in that competition as well. Of course, the two T20 World Cups in 2021 and 2022 are also on my horizon and my performances in the PSL will hopefully go a long way in putting me in contention for these tournaments.


    For the latest updates on Cricket, follow @PakPassion on Twitter

  2. #2
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    Still one of the cleanest hitters in the country, and he's been the best opener by a mile in the QEA Trophy, significantly outscoring the hyped youngsters like Zaryab and bin Yousuf.

    If Sharjeel passes a fitness test, he has to be on the plane for the T20 World Cup.

  3. #3
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    Heís a must if we have any chance of winning a T20 world cup.

    First 6 overs of Sharjeel will be devastating.

    Wish him all the best.

  4. #4
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    If he can pass fitness tests then he should be part of the t20 squad

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Markhor View Post
    Still one of the cleanest hitters in the country, and he's been the best opener by a mile in the QEA Trophy, significantly outscoring the hyped youngsters like Zaryab and bin Yousuf.

    If Sharjeel passes a fitness test, he has to be on the plane for the T20 World Cup.
    His fitness score was 17 (marginally below 17.4 our cut-off, but above Indian cut-off) several months back, and he seems to be continuously working on it. I am sure he'd pass a fitness test in next round.

  6. #6
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    Sharjeel
    Hafeez
    Babar
    Umar Akmal
    Iftikhar
    Amir

    Our only HOPE for World T20.

  7. #7
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    Hopefully the fixer doesn't represent Pakistan again. But obviously due to us having a lack of options and him performing in domestic cricket, looks like he will be back. Which is setting a ridiculous precedent. That it is fine to fix games because you can still represent Pakistan in the future.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hasan123 View Post
    Hopefully the fixer doesn't represent Pakistan again. But obviously due to us having a lack of options and him performing in domestic cricket, looks like he will be back. Which is setting a ridiculous precedent. That it is fine to fix games because you can still represent Pakistan in the future.
    That precedent was set with Wasim Akram and Mohammad Amir. Since PCB didn't hand out a life ban, and he's served his sentence then he has to be judged on performance and fitness like everyone else.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Markhor View Post
    That precedent was set with Wasim Akram and Mohammad Amir. Since PCB didn't hand out a life ban, and he's served his sentence then he has to be judged on performance and fitness like everyone else.
    Well you can change that now by not selecting this fixer. Fixing aside, he doesn't even understand how to stay in shape. That's enough of a reason not to select him.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hawkeye View Post
    Sharjeel
    Hafeez
    Babar
    Umar Akmal
    Iftikhar
    Amir

    Our only HOPE for World T20.
    All rotten eggs except hafeez and babar

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sunny_majoka View Post
    All rotten eggs except hafeez and babar
    Okay, I trust you.

    Now enlighten us with your thoughts. Who are the replacements that can play well in T20s and hit big vs pacers in Aus?

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hasan123 View Post
    Well you can change that now by not selecting this fixer. Fixing aside, he doesn't even understand how to stay in shape. That's enough of a reason not to select him.
    Well he doesn't claim to be the fittest cricketer in the world and his response is an honest one:

    PakPassion.net: Is a lack of fitness a concern for you, given that you have resumed playing after a long gap?

    Sharjeel Khan: That is true but let me also say that even during the time I wasn’t playing cricket, I would look for opportunities to train and maintain my fitness which is something I am still doing after my comeback. I have been given fitness plans by my domestic coaches and also by PSL staff and I am glad to say that I am following them to the letter, and my fitness is improving day by day.



  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hasan123 View Post
    Well you can change that now by not selecting this fixer. Fixing aside, he doesn't even understand how to stay in shape. That's enough of a reason not to select him.
    Then we should not select haris and imad am sure they missed fitness tests before and were allowed to play

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by shamaan View Post
    Then we should not select haris and imad am sure they missed fitness tests before and were allowed to play
    Haris and Imad fitness isn't as bad as Sharjeel. The reason I wouldn't select Sharjeel is due to the fixing not because of his fitness anyway.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Saj View Post
    Well he doesn't claim to be the fittest cricketer in the world and his response is an honest one:

    PakPassion.net: Is a lack of fitness a concern for you, given that you have resumed playing after a long gap?

    Sharjeel Khan: That is true but let me also say that even during the time I wasn’t playing cricket, I would look for opportunities to train and maintain my fitness which is something I am still doing after my comeback. I have been given fitness plans by my domestic coaches and also by PSL staff and I am glad to say that I am following them to the letter, and my fitness is improving day by day.
    Well I wouldn't select him due to the fixing anyway. And when it comes to fitness advice, I wouldn't trust those domestic coaches.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hasan123 View Post
    Well I wouldn't select him due to the fixing anyway. And when it comes to fitness advice, I wouldn't trust those domestic coaches.
    Regarding fixing, he's served his time. He still maintains that he is innocent by the way.

    Regarding the fitness tests accuracy, well that can be said about any other player too.



  17. #17
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    Too many players seem to be serving their time after cheating and getting back in.

    Its as if they know, lets go ahead and do it, we'll sail through the 'rola-shola' then
    welcomed with open arms. Shameless.

    Its come to the point, where even the fans dont care...'served his time' taken too lightly. In fact, you're not worth your salt if you're not cheated these days.

    Ever heard about a player (s) who thinks the world owes him (still) when he was given the benefit of the doubt, welcomed back with garlands, now half spent, half hearted, still blames those who were there for him.

    As for Pak fans, we're desperate souls anyway, ...even an overweight slog machine with a conviction for cheating will go ahead in our desperate fantasy league formations.

    Sher ki ek din ke zindagi ...geedhar ki sau sala zindagi se behtar hai.

  18. #18
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    We are desperate. He was rubbish in the PSL and in the National T20 cup but he is performing well now in the QEA trophy. I think if he has a good PSL he will be back in the Pakistan team.
    Last edited by MenInG; 26th December 2020 at 20:58.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by hadi123 View Post
    We are desperate. He was rubbish in the PSL and in the National T20 cup but he is performing well now in the QEA trophy. I think if he has a good PSL he will be back in the Pakistan team.
    I don’t think he is a solution for Pakistan batting issues. He has very poor technique and skills in batting. Just a minnow basher at the most. I do not see him scoring anything in SENA countries opening the batting
    Last edited by MenInG; 26th December 2020 at 20:58.

  20. #20
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    Sharjeelís game really developed under Mickey and Grant. He was playing a lot squarer, both on the off and leg side. Which shows he was waiting for the ball. Upon his return, he hits the ball more towards cover and midwicket which looks more hack-ish. I really donít think the misbah, younis, Waqar combo is going to maximize the potential this guys has. Just in terms of ability, Sharjeel is more gifted than Babar. But it may be too late to make a champion out of him. Thanks to own his stupidness btw!


  21. #21
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    Highlights of his batting during QeA20



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