Fast-bowler Ehsan Adil started his international career with a lot of promise, with a Test debut against South Africa in 2013 but due to unfortunate injuries and a lack of opportunities, he has managed to play just 3 Tests and 6 ODIs, picking up 9 wickets so far.
In an exclusive interview with PakPassion.net, Ehsan Adil spoke about the reasons behind his lack of international appearances, his disappointment behind missing the 2016 tour of England, not being picked in the draft for PSL3 and his hopes for impressing the selectors to regain a place in the Pakistan team.
By Amir Husain (16th November, 2017)
PakPassion.net: You had a great start at the Under-19 level but then things didn’t go your way it seems. What went wrong?
Ehsan Adil: There isn’t much I can say about that as frankly, I don’t really know the reason for that myself. What I do know is that regardless of what format or level I have played in until now, whether it's international or domestic, my performances and the effort I have put in has always been of the highest quality.
Of course, there was a little bit of bad luck as I had a few injuries. The injury I sustained in 2013 during my debut at the Centurion Test against South Africa kept me out of cricket for a long while and then I sustained another injury before the ODI series against Bangladesh in 2015 which was also very disappointing. I was then declared Player of the Tournament in the 2015/16 Quaid-e-Azam Trophy but was not selected for the senior team; instead I was sent on a tour to Zimbabwe with Pakistan A where I played 3 One-Day matches and took 6 wickets. But then I later suffered a stress fracture and I was back to where I started with the whole year being spent trying to regain fitness.
PakPassion.net: That’s a pretty tough time you’ve had, but do you know the reason for these injuries?
Ehsan Adil: I think the stress fracture was simply down to the amount of cricket I had been playing around that time. Basically, I played a full season of first-class which consisted of eleven matches, then I played One-Day and Twenty20 games. So I really could not get too much rest that season. I also tried very hard to bowl fast in that season which probably contributed to my injury as well. I had been bowling with the same action for a long time, so I don’t believe my action was an issue and the injury was really down to playing too much cricket in that season.
PakPassion.net: Is your team management at UBL taking care of your workload to avoid a repeat of those injuries?
Ehsan Adil: Absolutely. I have become very careful about playing too many first-class games and only take part in those which are crucial to the team. This is something which has been agreed with the UBL team management as they want to ensure that I do not overexert myself playing unimportant games.
PakPassion.net: Did the hype around your talent put extra pressure on you to perform?
Ehsan Adil: I never paid much attention to any such hype. If I was affected by anything, it was due to the fact that I was not picked for the all-important tour of England in 2016. Being ignored for that tour really disheartened me, especially when I was told by a lot of people that a seamer like me would be ideal for English conditions. So, in a sense, I was convinced in my mind that I would be chosen for the tour of England. Some television channels were also reporting that Misbah-ul-Haq had recommended me for selection, but my name was missing when the squad was announced for the tour of England. Not much was said about why I was not selected so that was bit disappointing as well. I was recently spoken to by Pakistan bowling coach, Azhar Mahmood about some general improvements to my bowling technique, but given the busy schedules of the season, it's not practical to make those changes to my bowling overnight.PakPassion.net: Missing out on the tour of England must have been a shock, how did you recover from it?
Ehsan Adil: It is difficult to describe my disappointment on missing that tour of England, but I put that behind me very quickly as I was looking ahead to the series against the West Indies in the UAE. For that I needed some luck as we had some good performers in the team who had done well against England and a few more did well once the series began so I really couldn’t get a chance to be selected. I suppose now there isn’t much more I can do but to keep on performing well in domestic and see if I am picked by the selectors. It's easy to sit in a corner and keep on thinking about what could have been but that won’t help me. I need to look ahead and work hard to get myself noticed by the selectors for future series.PakPassion.net: There seems to be a real need for express fast-bowlers nowadays, do you think you have the pace to meet that criteria?
Ehsan Adil: My pace has never been a problem and I do not believe that its dropped over time. If you recall, I was bowling up to 144KpH in the 2015 World Cup and I do believe that I average around the 140KpH mark. What I want to do now, based upon advice I have received from various coaches, is to increase that speed a little more as there is room for improvement due to the type of action I have. Nowadays, I am trying to put a little more effort in my bowling to increase my speed, but I suppose fear of injury or a repeat of that stress fracture is a slight concern, so I need to be careful here. The bowling action remains pretty much the same, but it has been speeded up to try and give me some more pace where possible.PakPassion.net: You have age on your side, but is there a part of you which is panicking as time passes by and you cannot get a chance to represent Pakistan again?
Ehsan Adil: I don’t have many options other than to be patient. I know that the rewards for working hard are many and one always succeeds when they put in the right amount of effort. I am focused on what I want to achieve, and I am convinced that it will take just one good season or one good tournament for things to turn around in my favour. Until that happens, I will continue performing as well as I can.PakPassion.net: How does it feel to be part of an excellent pace attack at UBL?
Ehsan Adil: The UBL bowling attack is definitely one of the finest in domestic cricket and I am lucky to be part of this combination. Whilst it is great to work with such a fantastic bowling attack, my problem is that by the time I come on to bowl, 5-6 wickets have fallen already so as a result I don’t get chances to get too many wickets. It's great for the team but as a bowler you have to wait and hope that there will be some wickets left to get when it's time for you to bowl. But make no mistake, there is a great opportunity for me to learn from a bowler like Sohail Khan. He is in great form at the moment and we speak during overs where he advises me on my bowling and I try and take his advice on board.PakPassion.net: Has the quality of pitches in the ongoing Quaid-e-Azam trophy helped you take wickets?
Ehsan Adil: I have heard some comments about the quality of pitches but all I can say is that regardless of what type of pitch you bowl on, there is a batsman in front and you have to bowl decently to get him out. In all honesty, swing bowlers have had a good time this season but bowlers like me, who hit the deck hard, need hard pitches and that’s not the type we are seeing this season. In fact, I will say that I have not come across any pitches this season which have been helpful to my style of bowling. Having said that, my view is very simple which is to not to worry about the pitch and just bowl well and I will get wickets on any surface.PakPassion.net: Only 3 Tests and 6 ODIs so far in your career which must be disappointing, so how do you keep on going?
Ehsan Adil: Cricket has been my passion and that is why I started playing this game. There was no other reason for me to take up this game as I had no idea that I would represent Pakistan in the future. Of course, when I face disappointments now, it makes you wonder why I play cricket, but then when I step into the ground, all such negative thoughts disappear and I become focused on the task at hand. All I want to do then is to bowl my best and take wickets and who knows a good performance could get me that opportunity to represent Pakistan again. PakPassion.net: Disappointments of the past aside, the fact is that you've done well in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy this season. So, is the old Ehsan Adil back?
Ehsan Adil: I am trying very hard to improve myself and move myself toward a better future. That’s all I want to do and if the old Ehsan Adil comes back with that effort than that’s fine. But, people need to understand that it sometimes happens that you try your best but things just don’t go your way and that doesn’t suddenly make you a bad bowler.PakPassion.net: Does the competition for places in Pakistan team make it difficult for you to make a comeback?
Ehsan Adil: I do not think there is any difficulty as such. I feel that it was tougher to make a place for yourself in the Pakistan team when I first started playing for Pakistan. We had the likes of Mohammad Irfan, Rahat Ali, Junaid Khan and Tanvir Ahmed who were all in superb form and who were all seniors to me. In today’s team, the bowlers are all of my age or similar, so I am not too bothered about any competition and I am not stressed by that at all. I think it's all down to a bit of luck and if I can get another chance then I will surely perform and try and win back a place in the national team.PakPassion.net: How does the near and long-term future look for you now?
Ehsan Adil: I am still very hopeful of making a comeback for my country and hopefully the selectors will notice my performances in the domestic season. I would have loved to have played in the Pakistan Super League but unfortunately, I wasn’t picked in the draft for PSL3 which is heart-breaking. To tell you the truth, I was very hopeful of more chances in the PSL after the 2016 edition where I joined Lahore Qalandars in place of Yasir Shah and took 7 wickets. I thought I would get another chance to play in this tournament, but my name was not mentioned for the 2017 or 2018 edition. I find that strange as my credentials as a T20 bowler are well-known, so nobody should have had any doubts about my skills. It's disappointing to be ignored for the PSL, but I know that just by sitting and thinking about this is not going to get myself picked for any PSL team. My aim is to be the best bowler in the current National T20 Cup and show the world that I am ready for Pakistan’s upcoming tours. I feel that a good performance in this tournament will get the attention of the current selection committee. The selectors have shown in recent times that they have no problem in picking players who are performing well, and I am hopeful that if I continue doing well, I too will be given another chance to prove myself.