Abu Dhabi: Ahmad Shehzad, having served his time for doping violations, is reaping the rewards of his self-analysis and has taken a cue from India’s cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar in his quest to make a comeback for Pakistan.
Shehzad, who was slapped with a five-month ban for two violations of the Pakistan Cricket Board’s (PCB) anti-doping rules after he tested positive last July, led from the front in Quetta Gladiators’ 43-run win against Islamabad United in the last match of the UAE leg of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) on Tuesday.
“I had a talk with Sachin and he was stressing that you should not regret,” said Shehzad after scoring a 43-ball 72 to give Quetta a total that Islamabad failed to reach despite the best efforts from New Zealander Luke Ronchi. “In his interviews also, he has said that one should do so much hard work that there shouldn’t be any regret. I have tried to do that. As a Muslim, you believe that things will happen as per the wishes of Allah but if your process is good and giving 110 per cent then that’s what is important. I’m confident that I can comeback into the Pakistan team. This one thing that one shouldn’t forget and I have learnt that from a young age.”
Quetta — sitting pretty at the top of the PSL standings with 14 points and having already qualified for the plays-off — will be playing their next match against Karachi Kings on March 10. The contest is a must-win for Karachi as they are currently fourth with eight points and still not assured of a place in the play-offs.
Islamabad, who are in third place on a better net run-rate than Karachi, will also be facing a do-or-die match against Lahore Qalandars on March 9. Lahore are currently fifth in the standings with six points but they have played one match less. They have two opportunities, one against Quetta and other against Multan Sultans to book their play-off ticket.
Islamabad coach Waqar Younis acknowledged that his team were outplayed in all departments by Quetta but he is still confident of his team making it to the play-offs.
“Yes, the rhythm has not come for the team and we really have to play well from here on to qualify,” he said. “T20 cricket is like this only, one day you are hot and one day your are cold and today we were cold. We will have to work on our mistakes.”
TEAM P W L T Pts
Quetta Gladiators 9 7 2 14
Peshawar Zalmi 9 6 3 12
Islamabad United 9 4 5 8
Karachi Kings 8 4 4 8
Lahore Qalandars 8 3 5 6
Multan Sultans 9 2 7 4