PakPassion.net speaks to the tall 19yr old pacer, Ehsan Adil, about his development as a cricketer from an early age and all the way through to the Under 19 level where he represented Pakistan at the ICC U19 World Cup.
Full name: Ehsan Adil
Born: March 15, 1993, Sheikhupura
Height: 6 foot 4”
Current age: 19 years 227 days
Major teams: Faisalabad Wolves, Pakistan Under-19s, Habib Bank Limited
Batting style: Right-hand bat
Bowling style: Right-arm fast
Getting into Cricket : Nobody in my family played cricket to a high level. We were all very keen on watching and playing cricket and the interest just built up over the course of time particularly in my early teenage years. Tape ball cricket and street cricket was where it all began for me.
Early Cricketing Days in Faisalabad : I was pushed by friends and family to take my cricket a little more seriously and join a local cricket club in Gojra, Faisalabad. I was 14 when I joined the Friends cricket club in Gojra and had only been a member there for 6 or 7 days when I learnt that trials were taking place for the Faisalabad regional under 15s team. I went to the Faisalabad regional under 15 trials more to see what was going on there rather than thinking that I would be selected. But as luck would have it and thanks to the Almighty, I was selected for Faisalabad Under 15s after impressing the coaching staff (Wasim Haider and Tanvir Shaukat) at the trials.
Under 15s : I played a few matches for the Faisalabad Under 15s. I thought I bowled well for them in my first few matches but the wickets didn’t arrive in great numbers. However thankfully the selectors saw potential in me and I was selected amongst 140 boys for trials for the Pakistan Under 15 squad. Around 10 boys from each region were picked and we all had the chance to show what we could do at the National Cricket Academy in Lahore. From 140 boys, the squad was cut down to 25 players and I was lucky enough to be amongst them. At the training camp things went well and I bowled with good rhythm and impressed the coaches, Sabih Azhar, Azam Khan, Aaqib Javed and Mansoor Rana and I was selected for Pakistan Under 15s.
Under 16s : I moved up through the Under 15 ranks to Under 16 cricket for my region and performed well there. In 5 or 6 matches I took 9 or 10 wickets and also averaged around 35 with the bat. You could say that as a cricketer you start to mature the more you play and at this age level I felt I was really improving as a cricketer.
Regional Under 19s : The natural progression after Under 16 cricket was then onto regional Under 19 cricket. I recall in my first season of Under 19 cricket I only played 5 one day matches and took 11 wickets and made 3 scores of between 30 and 40. In my second season of Under 19 cricket I picked up an injury so that season was a write-off. In my final season of regional under 19 cricket I was awarded the captaincy for Faisalabad. In that season I was asked by a couple of departmental teams to play for them but I wanted to stay loyal to Faisalabad and the regional coaches, particularly Tanvir Shaukat who had supported me from the age of 14 onwards. In my final season, which was last year, of regional Under 19 cricket I was the second highest wicket taker and Faisalabad were the regional champions.
Pakistan Under 19s : The regional Under 19 final when I was captain was in Islamabad last year against Rawalpindi and it was a high profile match and I took 6 wickets in the first innings and then three wickets in the second innings. After that performance I gained national Under 19 selection and I received a phone call from a Pakistan Cricket Board representative during the final informing me that I had been picked for the Under 19 tour of South Africa.
I enjoyed bowling in South Africa on that tour. I feel I didn’t pick up as many wickets as I should have on that tour but as I say I felt good and really enjoyed bowling in those conditions. I also managed to score some quick runs when the team needed them.
Cricketing Heroes : I’ve only ever had one hero and that is Waqar Younis. I loved the way that Waqar bowled those inswinging yorkers at great pace. As far as bowling actions go, Glenn McGrath’s action was impeccable, almost effortless and when I played tape ball cricket in my early days I modelled my action on McGrath.
Under 19 Asia Cup : The Asia cup was a thrilling experience and one that I will never forget no matter how many years I play cricket for. The thrilling 1 run win against India in the group stages was a remarkable game of cricket and then to top that the final against the opposition was a tied match where I managed to restrict the opposition to scoring only 6 runs from the last over and took 2 wickets. My captain approached me and said that I will be bowling the last over and I said I was fine with that. India were in the driving seat but my philosophy is that you never give up until the winning run has been scored or the final wicket has been taken. I just thought back to some of my tape ball matches where I was given the ball in such situations and planned to bowl full and straight.
The final over was going well until the 5th delivery when instead of bowling a yorker I bowled a low full toss which went for four. With India needing only one from the final delivery I thought I had to do something different so I decided to bowl a slower delivery which the batsman hit to mid off. We celebrated as if we had won the tournament as we really managed to tie that match from nowhere.
Under 19 World Cup : The preparations went really well in Pakistan, we particularly worked on our fielding in Lahore and we went to Australia in good spirits and high in confidence. There was a real camaraderie amongst the players and the coaching staff had prepared us for the World Cup really well. We were really confident and won the 3 match series against Australia before the World Cup and things were going according to plan. However one bad session against India where our batting didn’t click meant that we were knocked out. Even then we clawed our way back into the match and could have won the game against India and only a last wicket partnership was the difference. It was heartbreaking but sometimes you learn more from a defeat than you do from victory.
First Class Cricket : I signed with Habib Bank last month after Pakistan Under 19 coach Sabih Azhar spoke with me and he felt that I would as a medium fast bowler get some good opportunities to develop my talents at Habib Bank. KRL also approached me and I nearly signed with them, the only thing that was remaining was the medical, but at the last minute I had a change of heart and signed for Habib Bank.
I joined the pre-season camp with Habib Bank ahead of the President’s Trophy and enjoyed it tremendously and it’s been a good start for me in first class cricket. I was nervous about the jump from Under 19 cricket to first class cricket but a net session with Younis Khan really boosted my confidence. I was bowling to Younis and he said to me after the session that if I continued to bowl at the length I was bowling from my height of 6 foot 4”, I would cause a lot of problems for the batsmen and that I would be amongst the leading wicket takers in the President’s Trophy. For someone of the class of Younis Khan to compliment me like that was just mind blowing. Hasan Raza and Imran Farhat also praised me a lot in practice sessions and in the nets and this really did give my confidence a lift ahead of the season start.
Imran (Farhat) has really helped me a lot in settling into first class cricket. He’s been a real pillar of strength for me. Imran’s told me to just concentrate on pitching the ball up and tease the batsmen into driving at deliveries that they think are there to be driven and before they know it, the ball is in the hands of the slip fielders or the wicketkeeper.
It's been like a dream for me so far in that I'm the leading wicket taker in first class cricket so far. In each match I am coming up against vastly experienced cricketers, batsmen who have big reputations and a lot of runs behind them, but my team mates like Younis Khan, Imran Farhat and Hasan Raza are really guiding me and saying to me that I’m capable of dismissing any batsman.
Stock Delivery : I enjoy bowling Yorkers, but I also enjoy bowling outswingers to the right handers and then surprising them with one that nips back. I’m lucky to have the ability to move the ball both ways.
Pace : At the moment I’m clocking around 135kph. I’ve spoken with my coaches about attempting to gain some more pace and we feel that it will come with some work on a couple of minor technical points. I have an effort delivery but I’m a bowler that relies upon good rhythm and at this stage I’m concentrating more on getting the ball in the right areas.
Batting : I take my batting seriously and feel that I can definitely improve as a batsman. At the moment I’ve been required to score quick runs mostly at Under 19 level, but I feel that I can bat properly and with this chance in domestic cricket I think I can make the most of this opportunity. My aim is to work my way up the batting order with some runs behind me.
The Future : This is my first domestic season and my plan first and foremost is to establish myself in the Habib Bank team and to take as many wickets as possible in every format that I am selected for. I’m learning and playing alongside the likes of Younis Khan, Imran Farhat and Hasan Raza and this can only be a good thing for me. Further down the line I’m like any other young cricketer in Pakistan, I want to play for my country at the senior level and to perform for Pakistan to the best of my ability for many years. Mohammad Amir came and was forgotten so quickly, I don’t want to be forgotten like he was, when my chance comes.