Exclusive Interview: Aamir Sohail
PakPassion is proud to present an interview with the World Cup winner Aamir Sohail. Aamir has not only answered your questions but he's answered them very candidly! Enjoy...
PakPassion.Net: Why do you think we have had major problems with our opening partnerships after you and Saeed Anwar? I can understand the argument where people at first were saying they are still young etc but surely if you look at it all the current openers have been playing for a good couple of years now, so surely have had fair amount of experience and exposure at this level?
Aamir Sohail: Well, first people have to understand Saeed Anwer made his debut in 1988 and I debuted in 1990. We did open for Pakistan on and off but not regularly. When Saleem Malik took over as the captain, he made us open together with an understanding that as long he is there no body will touch this pair. That gave us a lot confidence and eventually we started to play for Pakistan not for our survival. What has been happening with the current team? We have been fickle with our planning we have played so many openers but we have not been able to groom them. We have dropped openers at the wrong time and brought them back without major performances. It creates a lot of pressure on the players. Then the major reason is because they want to adjust their friends into the team like shoaib malik and shahid afridi and they can only be adjusted at the opening slot. Because of that we havent been able to produce consistent openers . In my opinion they should decide on four openers from taufeeq, imran farhat, faisal ather, mohd hafiz and salman butt. Salman and imran should open in odi and hafiz their back up, Imran & taufeeq should be the pair in test matches, and their back should be Faisal ather. Persist with them and after two series they will be the force.
PakPassion.Net: M Hafeez has failed as an opener (he was primarily picked as one) in the significant chances he's got so far while Junaid Zia is struggling in domestic cricket. You backed these two the most in your stint as selector (at least in commentary and papers). Do you think you made poor choices?
Aamir Sohail: Mohd hafiz has had a raw deal, when I picked him everybody was impressed with his talent. His ability with the bat and ball, then his fielding. Unfortunately he got injured while playing against South Africa but because he was bowling so well the captain and coach wanted to keep him in the side. When he was picked for the odi series in Australia, he was made to bat at different positions and for a person making a comeback was a stupid thing to do. However, I am sure he will bounce back and will prove his worth for Pakistani cricket. For junaid, he has been a consistent performer at the first class level and I still think he can make it big if given an opportunity. Let me ask u what has Rao achieved so far? He has been with the team for almost three years and there are a few others too. So let me tell you junaid is the most hard working cricketer I have seen in Pakistan and hard work does pay.
PakPassion.Net: During Pakistan's tour of India 05, you said while commentating that Younis Khan's appointment as vice-captain was a big mistake. Do you still hold that view?
Aamir Sohail: Yes I still maintain that. Pakistan cricket has suffered in the past because of too many captains in the playing eleven and Yousaf who did a great job in Australia should not have been changed as the vice captain. Also Younis does not have a place in the one day side so how you could name such a player as the vice captain? As it was proven during the Indian tour, where he scored tons of runs and was dropped from the odi. Then just because of the critics they had to play him and what nowhere, he does not have a utility. We argued that on national TV and the management was forced to send him up the order now. So u tell me was it a good decision?
PakPassion.Net: Who, in your opinion, are the best two openers in Pakistan and why?
Aamir Sohail: I have answered that who should be the openers and why because they are well equipped provided the selectors do not become fickle after every two games.
PakPassion.Net: Your cricketing idol?
Aamir Sohail: Wasim Raja and Javed Miandad.
PakPassion.Net: Where do you believe Pakistan stands right now in terms of world ratings?
Aamir Sohail: In my opinion they are are behind Australia, SA, New Zealand and England. They are at par with India.
PakPassion.Net: Where do you keep your World Cup winners medal.
Aamir Sohail: In my music den where I spend a lot of time.
PakPassion.Net: How was it like to open the batting with Saeed Anwar? Watching him from the other end, how good a player would you say he was at his prime, up there with Lara and Tendulkar?
Aamir Sohail: He was at a par with those two and a match winner. He had great wrists and the eye. He was a treat to watch.
PakPassion.Net: Throughout your playing career Aamir (in fact, this could be extended to your tenure as chief selector also) - the media has often portrayed you as the "angry young man" of Pakistan cricket and you have often been at the centre of controversies unfortunately for one reason or the other --- do you feel you are a misunderstood person? what is the real Aamir Sohail like ?
Aamir Sohail: I was misunderstood and what ever I did it was purely for the betterment of the game. The way things were handled it was painful and I wanted it to change as I love the sport whch has given me so much.
PakPassion.Net: During your youth, at what point did you realise you wanted to be a professional cricketer, and at what point did you realise that you could actually make it?
Aamir Sohail: it was at the age of eighteen that I realized that I could become an international player.
PakPassion.Net: Do you have fond memories of playing cricket before you became a professional? Or of any innings you played which you feel propelled you further during school, club or street-matches?
Aamir Sohail: One game which changed everything for me was the one I played against sialkot where I hammered the bowling at no six and I was promoted to bat at four the next innings. Then the captain of Lahore, wasim hassan raja suggested to me to open become an opener and it changed everything.
PakPassion.Net: Are you still involved with Pak cricket in any way????
Aamir Sohail: No.
PakPassion.Net: Who do you think can replace Inzamam and Yousaf in TESTS???? and do you think we can still be successful in TEST cricket in coming years as it seems we lack good solid batsmen with good technique and temperament
Aamir Sohail: Asim kamal, yasir hamid and faisal ather can be good.
PakPassion.Net: Your 5 career highlights?
Aamir Sohail: Winning the world cup. Saving a test match batting at no seven against aussie in1994. captaining Pakistan. Winning Singapore cup and Durban test.
PakPassion.Net: The bowler you feared facing?
Aamir Sohail: No one but Glenn Mcgrath and Courtney walsh were difficult bowlers.
PakPassion.Net: How do you rate Pakistans chances in the WC2007 with the current squad of players?
Aamir Sohail: If they start to play specialist players rather than too many all rounders then they can do well.
PakPassion.Net: The recent openers dilemma has raised a question...should our elder players compromise? Should we try some of our older players such as Inzi or Yousuf as openers or continue with this trial and error method?
Aamir Sohail: We should have taufeeq , imran farhat ,salman butt and mohd hafiz playing
PakPassion.Net: Who would you rank the premier bowler of your generation?
Aamir Sohail: Glen ,Courtney and Ambrose.
PakPassion.Net: Your favourite one day and test innings?
Aamir Sohail: 1992 world cup game against aussie. 1994 test aginst aussie at Lahore.
Last edited by Salman; 6th July 2007 at 07:01.