||17 December 1984
Although Najaf has been playing first-class cricket for seven years, it wasn't until the 2004-05 season when he grabbed over 60 wickets on the local circuit that he got noticed. The tall and well-built Najaf, one of the handful left-arm pacers that Pakistan has produced since the retirement of Wasim Akram, had been on the verge of international selection ever since. Utlising his height well, Najaf extracts that extra bounce that has been a constituent of his success with the Pakistan U-17 and U-19 teams as well as Pakistan A on a few occasions. A consistent domestic performer for his native city of Rawalpindi as well as Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), Najaf bagged another 60 wickets in the following domestic season and was duly selected for the Pakistan Academy and Patron's XI teams. Yet another decent enough season with 36 wickets, this raw talent was sent off to Bangladesh with the Aademy team where his performance, and Pakistan's lack of artillery for the Abu Dhabi tour, saw him make his international debut. Although he went wicketless, and got whacked around towards the final overs, his bounce and movement that clearly troubled Sanath Jayasuria will ensure that he remains part of Pakistan's long-term plans even though he was dropped for the subsequent tour to Scotland to make room for the fit-again Shoaib Akhtar.