Ahmed Shehzad reacts to past controversies, how he was sidelined through a pre-planned approach, comeback and much more in an exclusive interview with Cricket Pakistan
Pakistan opener Ahmed Shehzad has reacted to Waqar Younis' 2016 report which massively put a dent on his flourishing career.
Waqar, then head coach of the national side, wrote in his report that Ahmed Shehzad and Umar Akmal must play domestic cricket to get back in the side.
While talking to Cricket Pakistan, the 30-year-old challenged Waqar Younis to sit and discuss the matters face-to-face.
“I have not seen the report myself but a PCB official told me that these remarks have been said regarding me. But I believe that these things should be discussed face-to-face and I am ready to take on that challenge. Then we will see who is right and who is wrong.”
“Maybe I have more things to say and I might even have a bigger reach than them but I opt to stay quiet because you need to live up to your own standards. But their words hurt my career, especially since I was not allowed to present my case.”
Shehzad termed it as a pre-planned approach to remove him from the side by associating name with Umar Akmal.
"Some of my teammates tried to associate my name with Umar Akmal by planning to give negative impression regarding me."
“This was a pre-planned approach and they wanted to kill two birds with one stone. I will not say their name but I will not make this public. It started from within the team.”
“I requested the media to not pay any importance to such controversies but everyone wanted to enjoy these controversies and that is alright because I am not bothered by it anymore.”
The 30-year-old and India's Virat Kohli had made their debuts together and according to Shehzad, Kohli's career rose to success due to MS Dhoni.
“I have said this before and I will say it again, Kohli’s career picked off amazingly because he found MS Dhoni but unfortunately, here in Pakistan, your own people cannot stand your success.”
“Our own senior players and ex-cricketers cannot digest seeing someone succeed in the cricketing world, which is unfortunate for Pakistan cricket.”
“Kohli’s been struggling for form for the past two years, I was cast aside after two matches. I was told to perform in the Faisalabad tournament and I was the highest score there but still I was not handed another chance.”
Shehzad is now working hard on his domestic performances by making sure he doesn't make past mistakes.
“I have been busy with my training and have been focusing on things from the side lines. The point is to assess things for my personal growth and how I can benefit Pakistan.”
“I have made plenty of mistakes but I have never done injustice to my cricket. These mistakes are not only limited to personal life but they also seep into your cricket and I have addressed the flaws in my game, fitness, and more.”
“There is an entire world outside social media but when I meet fans in real life, they tell me that they have left watching cricket since I haven’t featured whereas others claim they liked the previous team better.”
“I never thought I would play for Pakistan and back then, there were a number of openers available too. Fate works in mysterious ways but you have to ensure that you do your hard work.”
The right-handed batter also opened up about his injury which sidelined him from cricket for almost 18 months
“I had a surgery on my left hand which meant 32 stiches and it took me a year-and-a-half to recover. I did not take any sympathies from the world and I managed all the recovery myself. I even hired my own physios,” he revealed.
“After the gap of a one-and-a-half years, I was not even sure whether I will be able to make a comeback or not. I could not close my fist properly; for a batsman, that is a huge concern. There was a lot of uncertainty throughout that time.”
Ahmed was able to compete in Kashmir Premier League (KPL) and also played domestic cricket.
“Then I made a comeback in KPL and my performances are in front of everyone. After that, I came back to play in Pakistan’s domestic circuit, which I believe is still the best criteria to assess a player's capabilities.”
“I finished fourth in the T20 domestic format. I featured in the four-day and finished the competition with more than 50+ average throughout. I have consistently performed in five tournament and I am extremely happy about my progress.”
“I am focusing on my hard work and I am forever going to remain confident of a return on international stage. I trust Allah Almighty and it is not a hope but my belief that it will happen once again.”