Even before Indian fans could overcome the shock of the home series humiliation against England, another one, this time against arch-rivals Pakistan, has come to haunt them. The latter hurts more, keeping in mind the emotions that are attached whenever India and Pakistan lock horns in a cricket field. While Alastair Cook was the tormentor-in-chief for the Poms, another left-hander, who is in sublime form of late, with a mixture of patience and aggressiveness, has left the Indian team wobbling – Nasir Jamshed.
Bhuvaneshwar Kumar bamboozled him with a peach of a delivery in the first T20I, but since then, Jamshed has scored 41, 101*, and 106 in three innings. Pakistan as a team, have scored 659 runs in their last three ODIs. Jamshed’s willow has produced 248 of them. Moreover, the kind of starts he has been giving his side has made the job easier for his skipper and the team. Pakistan has used different batsmen (Shahzad in T20Is, Hafeez in ODIs) to pair Jamshed in different formats, but that has hardly affected his rhythm.
These are early days for Jamshed, who is just 21 ODIs old, but one cannot stop but compare him with another prolific left-hander of Pakistan cricket, Saeed Anwar. All three of Jamshed’s international tons have come against India and that too in consecutive matches. Anwar, who was a terrific left-hander, scored 2002 runs against India, which included 4 centuries in ODIs. In spite of having played less Tests, Anwar scored 289 runs in three matches against India and the only century he scored (188*), remains to be his highest score in Test matches. His 194 in ODIs was the highest score in ODIs for a very long time before it was equalled by Charles Coventry on 16 August 2009, and later broken by Tendulkar who scored the first double century in limited overs cricket.
Against India, Saeed Anwar looked a very dominating batsman. Aggression came to him naturally while playing against the arch-rivals. The bouncers, which dismissed him against other teams, were sent into the stands while playing against India. Javagal Srinath, Venkatesh Prasad and others who bowled to him during a major part of their careers were often left stunned when the best of their deliveries couldn’t breach Anwar’s technique. The Indian bowlers have been experiencing the same against the well-built Jamshed, who has become a nail in their shoe. Jamshed became the only cricketer after Zaheer Abbas to fire three consecutive hundreds in India-Pakistan limited overs engagements.
In the last four ODIs that he has played against India, Jamshed has scored 372 runs at an incredible average of 186, with three centuries and a half-century to his name. The fifty (53*) came during the Asia Cup 2008. Just like Saeed Anwar, his highest score in ODIs (112) has come against India. Anwar also holds the record of scoring three successive tons, against Sri Lanka, West Indies and Sri Lanka during the 1993–94 Wills Trophy. Much to the delight of the Pakistan fans, Jamshed has achieved the feat against India.
2012 was a phenomenal year for Jamshed, where he scored 462 runs from 8 ODIs at an impressive average of 66. In T20Is, he scored 263 runs from 11 outings. The year could probably be the turning point of his career.
The 23-year-old has provided a lot of strength to the Pakistan batting line-up and the dependency on the left-hander has reached an extent where his early dismissal in the 3rd ODI could create trouble for Pakistan. But that should be inconsequential as he has done his job, very well, to guide his side to a series’ victory in India after 7 years.
From fitness problems to spot-fixing allegations, Jamshed has seen it all. Pakistan hasn’t had a good time of late after they were deprived of hosting international matches for quite some time. But now, Pakistan fans have a lot to cheer about – courtesy Jamshed’s tremendous form!