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Rohail Nazir aims to stake claim for wicketkeeper spot in Pakistan team

Wicketkeeper-batsman is hoping to register memorable performances for Islamabad United in the upcoming HBL PSL season

Rohail Nazir aims to stake claim for wicketkeeper spot in Pakistan team PHOTO COURTESY: PCB

Islamabad United wicketkeeper-batsman, Rohail Nazir, is aiming to continue his rich vein of form with the bat, when the remaining matches of HBL Pakistan Super League (PSL) 6 resumes in Abu Dhabi in June.

Rohail had a great start to this year as he accumulated 352 runs at an average of 50.28 in the Pakistan Cup in January, which included four fifties. After waiting for his turn, the wicketkeeper-batsman played a 34-run inning in his only game for United this season, before the tournament was indefinitely postponed.

While speaking in an exclusive interview with Cricket Pakistan, the 19-year-old said he is looking to register memorable performances in the upcoming season, which puts his name among the contenders for wicketkeeper-batsman spot in the national side.

“I played well in the Pakistan cup and tried to perform in the single game I got for Islamabad United this season. Now I am going with the mind-set that I have to do better than what I have done already. Whenever I get the chance, I will try to do well for my team,” Rohail said.

“PSL is a platform, which everyone watches. Mohammad Rizwan bhai, Saifee [Sarfaraz] bhai and Azam Khan are all very good wicketkeeper-batsmen.  My aim is to perform well and prove to the people that I can also represent Pakistan as a wicketkeeper-batsman,” he added.

With Phil Salt being unavailable for remaining HBL PSL 6, competition hasn’t gotten any easier for Rohail as United has picked another in-form wicketkeeper-batsman, Mohammad Akhlaq, in last week’s replacement draft.

“Competition motivates a player to work even harder. Either you play for Pakistan or in different leagues, you have to face competition. Earlier, there was [Phil] Salt in United, who was an international player. In fact, when he used to play, I used to learn from him about what he does different as he plays leagues around the world. I try to prove myself whenever I get the opportunity,” Rohail said.

 “My belief is that a good player eventually proves his worth when he gets a chance and becomes the first-choice. Every player is playing for the team so my best wishes are with anyone who gets the opportunity to play,” he added.

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The Islamabad-born cricketer prefers batting in the top-order but is ready to bat at any position as he continues to work on his power-hitting.

“I have always liked batting in the top-order, but I have groomed my mind to be ready to play at any number for my team and according to the match situation,” he said.

“I was the Under-19 Pakistan team captain, so the team relied on me and I used to try and play till the end, which ultimately helped in my career as I learned the importance of my wicket. However, a batsman should know how to play in any situation. I am trying to become a player, who has the ability to chase down 50 runs in 24 balls as well as 30 runs from 24 balls. That is how I practice these days, which has improved my hitting range and ground shots as well,” he concluded.