DateLine: 17th June 2010
We are delighted to present the much-awaited exclusive interview with Umar Amin, the young left handed batsmen who debuted in yesterday's Asian Cup opener.
PakPassion.net caught up with him on his first day in the Asian Cup camp and we spoke about his past experiences and his goals for the future.
PakPassion.Net: First of all congratulations from everyone at PakPassion on your selection to the Asia Cup squad. You certainly have plenty of supporters on our website and I can speak on behalf of all members of PakPassion and say we are all extremely happy for you.
Umar Amin: Thank you to all at PakPassion.
PakPassion.Net: Tell us more about yourself. How did you get into cricket and how did you break into the domestic cricket league?
Umar Amin: Actually I started off cricket in 2001 when I was in 7th class. It was my father’s passion and he wanted me to play cricket. I wasn’t that much into cricket back then but eventually I got into it when I got selected for U16 for the first time. After which I developed trust in it and then began to perform well at the U19 stage to get selected for the Pakistan U19 side. After which I was called up for Pakistan A squad. I also got a call up from National Bank of Pakistan and was selected in the NBP team for which Kamran Akmal is our captain. Now I am very happy that I have finally been selected for the full Pakistani team and I hope to continue to do well.
PakPassion.Net: Are you also pursuing your academic education?
Umar Amin: I have just given my A level exams in May, so I am hoping for some good results on the academic side as well. It is also important for me.
PakPassion.Net: You began as an opener. But later, you started batting in the middle order. What is your preferred position in the batting lineup?
Umar Amin: I have never considered myself as a middle order batsmen and always considered myself as an opener. In National Bank of Pakistan we have three top Pakistani openers in Nasir Jamshed, Salman Butt and Kamran Akmal. So I have had to bat at No. 3 or No. 4 to accommodate the International players. But I am very comfortable batting in any position.
PakPassion.Net: Has Shahid Afridi or Waqar Younis spoken to you about where they expect you to bat in the Asia Cup
Umar Amin: No not yet. But I have played in Sri Lanka before. I scored a 150 against the Sri Lanka A side in June 2009 (Scorecard), so I am very aware of the conditions of Sri Lanka and am happy to bat wherever I am required.
PakPassion.Net: What is your favourite format of cricket and why?
Umar Amin: As long as I am performing well I like all three. I think test cricket is the most difficult of all three to master because it is a real test of your technique and temperament. You have to be very patient in test cricket. Twenty20 is not as difficult as test cricket and the one day format. It is just a matter of 20 overs and if it is your day than you can perform very well. But test cricket is the real test of your game.
PakPassion.Net: What's your favourite cricket shot?
Umar Amin: I love the cover drive.
PakPassion.Net: Who was your batting idol when growing up?
Umar Amin: I loved watching Saeed Anwar a lot. I loved the way he timed the ball and I still watch videos of him on YouTube. Another player I really enjoyed watching is Adam Gilchrist.
PakPassion.Net: Being a left handed opener yourself, have you based your batting technique on Saeed Anwar or anyone else?
Umar Amin: No I have just followed what comes naturally to me. The only thing which I have tried to follow the way was the way he timed the ball.
PakPassion.Net: Do you have a set of goals that you want to achieve?
Umar Amin: Yes I have set goals for myself. I want to be a permanent member of this squad. If I get a chance I want to avail it and never give an opportunity to the selectors to drop me.
PakPassion.Net: We have seen a number of Pakistani batsmen struggle against the short ball, are you someone who plays the hook shot or do you prefer to leave the short deliveries alone?
Umar Amin: I love playing the pull shot and the hook shot. Actually in 2007 with the U19 squad to Australia I was the top scorer there and I was able to play the short ball well. It was a pretty strong Australia U19 squad with Nathan Coulter-Nile, Phil Hughes and Steve Smith. (Tour)
PakPassion.Net: A couple of years later, you were also a part of the Pakistan A team which toured Australia. How was that experience?
Umar Amin: That was also a very great experience, as in that tour I faced international quality bowlers. There was Shaun Tait, Doug Bollinger, Brett Geeves and Jason Krezja. I learnt a lot from that tour, and in particular from the senior players such as Mohammad Hafeez.
PakPassion.Net: What are your opinions on the standard of coaching in Pakistani domestic cricket?
Umar Amin: I think the coaching standard has improved a lot in Pakistan. The coaches have done their coaching training and now are very well aware on how to handle players and get the best out of them.
PakPassion.Net: Who has had the most influence on your cricketing education so far?
Umar Amin: My club head coach who is also the head coach of the Rawalpindi region, Sabih Azhar. Considering my technique I have worked a lot with Mansoor Rana and he was also my coach in U19. Also I would like to mention my club coach Ustad Aziz.
PakPassion.Net: Do you think you're ready to go out there and play top quality international cricket against the likes of Australia and England this summer?
Umar Amin: I am always ready. I am just trying to do well in this Asia Cup Inshallah and build my confidence and carry that confidence against Australia and England.
PakPassion.Net: You have played with countless young players. Of the players you play with, which ones do you sincerely think deserve a chance in the national team?
Umar Amin: He has been in the national team before, but one player who I think deserves another chance is Ahmed Shahzad. As far as bowlers are concerned, both Mohammad Talha and Wahab Riaz are good fast bowler with a bit of speed.
PakPassion.Net: Your batting technique looks pretty good but your domestic record is not much impressive. Why do you think that is?
Umar Amin: I believe my average before this season was quite high, but at the start of the season I started off a bit slow. Although I think my form currently is pretty good after the recently concluded Pentangular Cup in Karachi. I think I will be able to improve my average.
PakPassion.Net: With your batting technique what do you feel you need to work on?
Umar Amin: I am working outside off stump and concentrating on the balls which are leaving me. I am working with Ijaz Ahmed to better prepare me for these types of conditions which I will face in England.
PakPassion.Net: Mohammed Aamer has told us to look out for you as the next big thing in batting having been on the England U19 tour with you, do you think your experience on the England tour will give you some understanding of the conditions should you play there in the future? (Test Tour), (ODI Tour)
Umar Amin:Definitely it always helps. I was one of the top scorers on that England U19 tour in which I also scored a hundred and a couple of fifties.
PakPassion.Net: How did you find facing Stephen Finn in that tour?
Umar Amin: He was one of the best bowlers I have faced and was probably the best bowler in the England squad at that time. Even at that age he was almost touching 90 mph. So he was a difficult bowler to face and was a great learning experience.
PakPassion.Net: Are you interested in playing County Cricket?
Umar Amin: I would love to play county cricket if I ever get a chance.
PakPassion.Net: Tell us about the best innings you have played till yet. Who were the bowlers and what was the match situation.
Umar Amin: It was the fourth game of the five match Australian U19 tour and we were 2-1 down. We were chasing 311 runs to win and I came in when the team was 2-60. I got out on 98 and unfortunately couldn’t make my hundred, but I really loved that innings as Pakistan chased the runs down and we levelled the series (Scorecard). Unfortunately we lost the series, but I still have fond memories of that innings.
Another one of my favourite innings was a four day match at the Diamond Club Ground, Islamabad against Punjab in which Shoaib Akhtar gifted me a Sachin Tendulkar bat. (Scorecard)
PakPassion.Net: How did that come about?
Umar Amin: What happened was that my overnight score was about 20 not out and the team was struggling at 4-120 chasing 240 runs. The next morning of the match Shoaib Bhai told the entire team that this is Sachin Tendulkar’s bat and everyone was eyeing it. When I was padding up, Shoaib Bhai who was sitting next to me said that if you perform well today and make us win this match then I will give you this bat. I ended up making 76 runs and was not out as we won the game with 4 wickets in hand. When I came back to the dressing room Shoaib Akhtar gave me the bat and it was a great highlight.
PakPassion.Net: You must be happy to see Shoaib Akhtar part of the squad
Umar Amin: Yes Shoaib has always supported me. To have a guy like him in the squad gives you a lot of confidence.
PakPassion.Net: Also what bat do you use? And what do you look to in a bat?
Umar Amin: I still have that Sachin Tendulkar bat and Inshallah I will be making my debut with that bat. I mostly use 2’7 or 2’8 bats.
PakPassion.Net: Tell us about how you found out about your inclusion in the Asia Cup squad?
Umar Amin: Well actually I was playing a T20 club match here in Rawalpindi. My mother called me up and told me that I had been selected for the Asia Cup Squad. She was very happy for me and I was also very excited. Then one after another I was getting phone calls and it was a very happy moment for me.
PakPassion.Net: Which bowler do you most look forward to playing in the Asia cup?
Umar Amin: I have always had a mentality to “play the ball and not the name” and I have always tried to follow this. To play the ball on merit.
PakPassion.Net: Do you prefer batting against the fast bowlers or the spinners?
Umar Amin: I love both of them. I am very confident against both. I never think that I will wait for the spinner to come so I can score more runs or wait for the fast bowler before I score runs.
PakPassion.Net: How is the mood in the camp at the moment with a mixture of the young and old?
Umar Amin: Everybody is very excited about the Asian Cup especially the new guys like myself, Shahzaib and Asad Shafiq. We are being supported very well by the senior players. We are just excited about this camp. I am so happy to be here. Today was just the first day and I have enjoyed it a lot.
PakPassion.Net: We hope that you have many more days like these in future camps. Thank you very much for answering our questions Umar. We hope you all the best for the upcoming Asia Cup and a successful cricketing career ahead.
Umar Amin: Thanks again and please continue to pray for me.
(Article: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author only.
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