Time Saturday Jun 05 2021

PSL will be a major challenge, but I am ready for it: Fawad Ahmed

KARACHI: Pakistan-born Australian cricketer Fawad Ahmed feels that playing in the Pakistan Super League this season will be a “massive challenge” and he’s ready for it.

In an exclusive interview with Geo News, the 39-year-old Islamabad United player said that his goal in PSL is simple: to contribute towards his team’s cause, even if it means taking just one catch or bowling a good over.

“I am grateful that in the time of [the] COVID pandemic, we still get to play cricket. We love this game and it is also our source of income. So, I am very grateful that we have another opportunity to play quality cricket and I am really looking forward to it,” he said about the PSL remainders.

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“It is going to be a massive challenge because I just came from a very cold winter in Melbourne and am adjusting to the opposite of extreme heat. I am looking forward to it. Let's see how we go,” he said.

Fawad, who has played three ODIs and  two T20Is for Australia, observed that his side Islamabad United isn’t getting enough fanbase support despite being the most successful side. He hoped that Islamabad United will continue to play professional cricket in the PSL6 remainders, starting from June 9 in Abu Dhabi.

'Play as a team'

“My goal is to contribute to the team’s cause and share my experience with youngsters. It is about contribution. Even one wicket or catch of yours can be good for your team. It may not seem big from the outside, but when you do a deep analysis, that wicket, catch or a good over will have played an important part in the team’s cause,” Fawad said while emphasising on playing as a team for success in tournament.

He said it is a team game and six to seven players are needed to do well throughout the tournament.

"A few batsmen and bowlers should consistently do well. Individual brilliance can win one or two games, but to win the tournament, you need to do well as a team,” he said.

'Quality of cricket in PSL is amazing'

The spinner, who previously played for Quetta Gladiators in the tournament, termed PSL as a competitive tournament with equal balance talent in both departments.

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“Quality in PSL is amazing. Batting is good too, especially with four overseas players. It becomes very competitive because if you’ve four overseas players, you can overcome your batting void and all the teams' very good local bowling," he said. 

"I have played everywhere else, except IPL, but yes, quality wise it's an amazing competition," he said.

Fawad talks about data analysis, Islamabad United team

Replying to a question, Fawad said that data analysis in cricket does help a player in doing their homework, but at the end of the day, it is up to the player on executing something.

“Data analysis is good because you have do your homework on something you know. But at the end of the day, I think you need to worry more about yourself, so its a 95% and 5% thing," he said, adding that it's good to know the strengths and weaknesses of your opponents. 

Hailing Islamabad United captain Shadab Khan, Fawad said that he’s enjoying the captaincy and company of the young Pakistani spinner and finds him to be a very talented cricketer. He also hailed IU’s spin bowling coach Saeed Ajmal.

“Shadab is very talented. There's something we can't deny. I know he had a tough last year with fitness but man I'm telling you that guy's so talented and I think he’s going to do wonders for Pakistan in the future. I think that's a great asset for Pakistan cricket plus,” he added.

“I still learn from Saeed bhai. He’s as always telling us what to do and what not to do, how to go to the different players. He has played a lot of cricket in the Middle East and some of the advice he gives me is amazing," he said.

On the coronavirus pandemic

Fawad also shared his thoughts about life in quarantine and the bio-secure bubble. He revealed that he’ll have to do an overall quarantine of 57 days to participate in this 21-day long tournament.

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“There’s lack of motivation when you’re in quarantine as it is only you. It is just different because it's a team game. We've been training with the team throughout our career. It's very outdoorsy and just like that you're stuck in your room in 20 square meters and you can't do anything else,” he said.

“I'm going to nearly 56- or 57-days quarantine just for PSL. That’s almost two months, and it is 21 days tournament. Going back to Australia and the 15 days there are the toughest because we don't get even a window. There is no fresh air either. So that's at the back of your mind and you're thinking, oh, I'm going to go back and I'm going to quarantine again, that's 15 days again,” he said.

The Australian cricketer added that all this is not easy, especially on the body of an athlete. He stressed on the need to educate players about their mental and physical health in this pandemic.


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