Mohammad Sami, the Pakistan fast bowler, is targeting a return to the national team for the series against South Africa in the UAE in October, and the World Cup early next year. Sami last made an international appearance in May, during the World Twenty20 in the Caribbean, and has been out of reckoning since. However, with the uncertainty over the availability of fast bowlers Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Asif following the spot-fixing controversy, Sami could be in the frame for a comeback.
“I’ve not taken much time off during the off season and have been working hard on my game at the Rashid Latif Cricket Academy, as well as training on my own,” Sami told PakPassion.net. “I want to ensure that I am 100% ready when the new season starts. I am hopeful that the hard work will pay off and I can be given another chance for Pakistan.”
Sami began his international career on a high, grabbing eight wickets on Test debut in 2001, against New Zealand in Auckland, and a hat-trick against Sri Lanka in Lahore in his third game. He formed a promising opening bowling combination with Shoaib Akhtar, and was tipped for a bright future, but failed to meet expectations, averaging 50.73 in 34 Tests to date.
“Sometimes statistics don’t always tell the full story,” Sami said. “I don’t want to offer excuses, but those that have followed my career will appreciate that I have not had the best of luck. I am a better bowler than my statistics suggest and I will prove that in the coming months and years if given the opportunity.
Sami was dropped from the national team in 2007 and he went on to participate in the unauthorised Indian Cricket League before returning to the official fold. Since his return, he has played just one Test, the controversial defeat against Australia in Sydney in January. “I was given one opportunity in Australia and took three wickets in the first innings. I removed the top three Australian batsmen and felt in good shape, but then I never played in the next match. I’m desperate to be given another chance and to show what I can do, if given a decent run in the side.”
Sami, currently the captain of the domestic team Karachi Blues, has a significantly better ODI record, averaging 28.44 for his 118 wickets. Selection to the 2011 World Cup squad means more to him than just making an international comeback. “The memory of the 2007 World Cup still haunts all of the squad,” he said. The tournament itself was a disaster for Pakistan cricket and of course Bob Woolmer’s death was heart-breaking for all of us. I want to put that terrible tournament behind me and to make the 2011 World Cup a success for Pakistan.”