Member Interview : Aman


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  1. #1
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    Member Interview : Aman

    Many thanks to @Aman for his very detailed answers to questions put to him by our members.


    PakPassion.net: Cricketers you saw playing that inspired you to follow and play cricket?

    Aman:
    Glenn McGrath and Ricky Ponting.

    Most of the cricket I got to watch back then was New Zealand and Australian cricket. It was hard not to like the Aussie cricketers back then as most of the team was so talented and good to watch.

    I modelled my bowling on McGrath when I was younger, he wasnít the quickest bowler, but he was easily the best fast bowler and managed to get the better of the best batsmen in the world simply through immaculate control over line and length.

    Loved seeing Ricky Ponting bat, the way he carried himself and dominated bowlers, the disdain he showed players when pulling and hooking the ball made him an immediate favourite of mine. It sucked to see him in the slump towards the end of his career, I was happy that he scored runs in the Quarter-Final loss to India as he was past his best, but he still did his best to keep the Aussie hopes of a repeat alive.


    PakPassion.net: Best and worst Pakistani players you have seen play?

    Aman:
    I have early memories of watching Shoaib Akhtar bowl in New Zealand and Australia, during the golden spell where there were multiple genuine pace bowlers in the world with Brett Lee, Shane Bond and later Shaun Tait. Akhtar was probably the fastest of them and he was great to watch.

    Mohammad Hafeez when he gets going is among the classiest batsmen to watch in the world. I wouldnít call him the best, but Iíve seen him play some great innings against us. One of which was that 90 odd he scored against us in the last series. Babar isnít someone I havenít had much of a chance to watch although Iíve heard good things about him.

    Umar Akmal is another I had high hopes for, Umar and Mohammad Amir are the two players who got me interested in Pakistani cricket. I became a big fan of Umarís after seeing him bat in Australia, there was this one over where he smacked Peter Siddle for 20 odd in Test and even the commentors were in awe of his batting and commented how he was mix of Sachin Tendulkar and Javed Miandad. itís a shame he never lived up to his potential and did not make use of the talent he had.

    The worst Pakistani player, I really canít think of one that stood out at the top of my head.


    PakPassion.net: What do you have to say to people who believe that New Zealand relies on smart percentage-play rather than raw dominance?

    Aman:
    That's a fair assessment and I agree with it. We don't have a team which largely consists of world class players or 3-4 elite players in their positions. We have a few players who you could class as border line elite players or world class and several other useful players who together as a unit are world class and can challenge the best teams in the world.

    Iíve always felt we've been a professional and tactically well set up. Iíve trusted the players and management to be as well prepared as possible for the opposition and conditions.


    PakPassion.net: How do you feel regarding New Zealand pulling out of the Pakistan tour? Do you believe that the Pakistani fans anger was justified?

    Aman:
    I donít know what exactly caused NZC to decide to leave and many would want to know, however it seems unlikely we will anytime soon until that information is declassified.

    I trust NZC to make the right decision when it comes to the playerís welfare. I like to think we have one of the most professional governing bodies in the world, and I donít think this was politically motivated or any ill was intended from the decision. New Zealand on the global political stage is insignificant and doesnít have much to gain from such a move.

    Social media was pretty toxic after the pull out, and there were also Kiwi fans angered by the reaction and said some things they probably regret, including myself. Pakistani fans probably feel the same.

    I took some time off and let it die down and things have gotten better. Itís an incident we probably all can learn from about not letting your emotions get the better of you.


    PakPassion.net: How are NZC planning for the departure of Ross Taylor, BJ Watling, Tim Southee, and Neil Wagner from the Test side over the next few years?

    Aman:
    I think NZC are doing well in blooding in young players into the team. A lot of people were upset about New Zealand not sending their gala XI to Bangladesh and Pakistan, but that was later found to be because of player welfare. Players like Will Young, Finn Allen, Rachin Ravindra, Ben Sears etc. that were on these tours are likely going to be the core players of the team in 3-4 yearsí time.

    There were other reasons too such as the IPL, which I feel is fair given we our players donít rake in big money from central contracts like other countries. We shouldnít be forcing our players to play series which arenít viewed as important and miss out on making money that can set their family up in the future. If were to start doing that, we might risk players opting out of contracts and choosing to play in T20 leagues.

    I was really looking forward to seeing our promising young players play some international matches, the team is settled so there arenít many chances to get to see the new crop of players play for New Zealand and we donít get much coverage of them here. The coverage we do get is usually during the Super Smash or T20Is where the selectors tend to bring in more players into the setup which isnít the same.


    PakPassion.net: New Zealand are also rugby mad. Do you enjoy rugby? Which is your favourite club team? Also, now that New Zealand is number two, do you feel that's an accurate ranking?

    Aman:
    I canít see anything topping rugby or the All Blacks in New Zealand. Weíre a team in rebuild now so #1 or #2 is a fair reflection of the team. South Africa are a quality team and are the current world champions, either us or SA can stake a claim to being the best team in the world.

    There are two codes of rugby - league and union. Growing up I loved watching the Blues they had star players like Carlos Spencer, Joe Rokocoko, Rupeni Caucaunibuca and Doug Howlett who played an exciting brand of rugby with tricks and end to end football. This was the golden age of Auckland rugby, unfortunately after these players left, the Blues frankly started to go down in my estimation and it was during this period I started to follow more rugby league and NRL in particular.

    The Warriors arenít a great team either and have never won an NRL Premiership before, but rugby league is a faster game and, in my opinion, more entertaining. The NRL is one of the best competitions in the world and I highly recommend people check it out. Sonny Bill Williams made his name in this code and competition.


    PakPassion.net: Do you think New Zealand have got a team now to go out and win Test series in Australia and/or India when they tour them next time?

    Aman:
    No.

    Australia and India are arguably weaker than they were before and our team is stronger than previous teams weíve sent to those countries, however I feel our window to win in those countries is gone.

    Our players are not ready for those conditions, in my opinion experience and preparation are more important to winning series there. This is how India have improved their record in Australia and England, from being meme worthy to world class.


    PakPassion.net: How highly is Kane Williamson rated in the New Zealand cricket circles when compared with the past greats like Richard Hadlee, Martin Crowe and Stephen Fleming?

    Aman:
    Kane is rated right up there with Martin Crowe, he seems a lock for top two if weíre talking strictly batsmen. Top 3 if weíre including bowlers and all-rounders with Crowe and Hadlee always talked of in high regard.

    From what Iíve heard from pundits and ex-players, they tend to lean towards Martin Crowe but with the WTC win and Kane still having at least another 4 years in him, he could finish as the undisputed New Zealand GOAT.

    If he were to lead New Zealand to a WC, I think his legacy would be cemented as New Zealandís greatest cricketer forever because I canít see us producing a cricketer who could surpass those feats and match his quality as a leader or player.


    PakPassion.net: Where does the WTC Final win vs India rank among the greatest wins of New Zealand cricket history?

    Aman:
    New Zealandís greatest ever win in any format.

    India is a world class team. The match was dubbed as the most important match in Test history and for New Zealand to win from a position where a draw was the most likely result makes the win even sweeter. If weíre all being honest, a shared title would not have been the same.

    The realist in me had convinced me that weíd never be world champions in my lifetime, to see it happen was incredible and itís a moment Iíll never forget, something Iíll bug my children and grandkids about.


    PakPassion.net: Do you think cricket is growing in New Zealand or has it taken a backseat to other sports like basketball, MMA etc

    Aman:
    NZC has done a pretty good job promoting the game and the teamís success has gotten more people watching and taking up cricket which will hopefully lead to New Zealand producing more world class cricketers.

    I can only speak from experience but from what Iíve seen it has grown and the cricket nets Iíve been going to for the past 7-8 years are usually packed every time I go. This wasnít the case when I first started using those nets.

    I have been surprised by how popular Basketball is here, I never really paid attention to it until recently. If I were to hazard a guess, it may be on par, if not more popular than cricket in New Zealand. I see more NBA jerseys around and thereís usually games going on around in most parks which have courts.


    PakPassion.net: Do you play cricket yourself (tape ball, semi-pro etc.)?

    Aman:
    I started playing cricket when I was 12-13, I stopped after 2-3 seasons because it would take up my entire Saturday and teams by then were already set with most players coming through together from younger grades making it difficult to get a good place in the team.

    Iíve recently started playing Sunday T20s again, itís only 3 hours and the team Iím in now is chill and more about fun than results.


    PakPassion.net: Are you still mad at outcome of 2019 World Cup, or have you moved on?

    Aman:
    That one hurt and for entire week I was pretty down about it. The absolute worst way to lose a match, in a WC Final at that, after having already lost the previous Final.

    Over time I moved on and the team went on to win the WTC which helped to heal some of the wounds from that defeat.

    I still hope Kane is one day able to lift a World Cup.


    PakPassion.net: Do you feel Kane Williamson is a bit overrated?

    Aman:
    Iíve been a critic of Kaneís at times, he can be frustrating to watch in T20s and can be a detriment to the team when he gets bogged down and eats up balls. Similar to Babar Azam who takes a while to get going and when heís stuck eats up balls and hurts the RR. Kane seems to have recently added a new gear to his batting and truth be told we probably need some stability up the order with Conway, and the power hitters being able to focus on scoring runs.

    In Tests, he needs to improve his record away from home against the top teams. Thereís always going to be questions marks of him as an elite batsman with his less than stellar record in Australia, SA, India, and England. The likes of Smith, Kohli and Root have more well-rounded records in those countries, although Root lacks the big runs in those countries to truly separate himself from Kane. To Rootís credit, he has been phenomenal the past year and has clearly been better than Kane, Smith and Kohli.


    PakPassion.net: How highly do you rate Shane Bond?

    Aman:
    I was young when Bond emerged so I couldnít really appreciate his quality. I do have fond memories of watching him destroy the Aussies in the WC (and basically every time he faced the Aussies). His record against Australia is incredible given how dominant that Australian team was, he always seemed to perform against them even when he was past his prime after he returned from his spell away from international cricket because of the ICL.


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

  2. #2
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    good interview.

    Nicely pointed out about Hafeez. When Hafeez gets going, his innings are beutiful to watch and it seems nothing would get him out.


    "Life is Pain"
    ~House~

  3. #3
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    Great read. Some really good answers.

  4. #4
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    Good interview.


    Bangladeshi Man

  5. #5
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    Great read. Thanks for the answers to my questions.

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  7. #6
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    good interview. Honest and simple assessments were like a breath of fresh air

  8. #7
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    Some very good answers, particularly the one in relation to the cancellation of the NZ tour to Pakistan.

  9. #8
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    Quality interview.

  10. #9
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    I really liked the point Aman made about New Zealand being a side with a few elite players and more useful players, but how NZ have always been professional and tactically well set up.

    I couldn't agree more. And its something our fans and selectors should ponder over too.

    Talent is not what matters most. Being professional and smart in the way you play the game does. Which means you don't drop catches, you don't misfield, you don't make idiotic blunders or have brain fades and you don't capitulate or collapse for no good reason.

    People underestimate how deeply these little things affect the big picture. And no one team personifies professionalism and punching above their weight more than New Zealand.

  11. #10
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    Good interview and honest answers about his own team, especially on the star man Williamson. His away record really is dismal for a supposed top 4 batsman.


    Arsenal all the way!! (and Pakistan, of course!)

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