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Ahmed Jamal, 23, is a right-arm pace bowler hailing from Abbotabad. Viewed by many pundits and coaches as a future Pakistan international, Jamal spoke to PakPassion about his development as a cricketer, future aspirations and his playing career to date.

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By Sabeeh Ehsan (11 July 2012)

Ahmed Jamal, 23, is a right-arm pace bowler hailing from Abbotabad. He performed well in last season's Quaid-e-Azam Trophy, taking 42 wickets in only nine matches at an average of 23.

Viewed by many pundits and coaches as a future Pakistan international, Jamal spoke to PakPassion about his development as a cricketer, future aspirations and his playing career to date.


U19 trials.

When I attended trials for the U19s in 2004, I knew nothing about inswing or outswing. I was selected and was too embarrassed to admit I didn't know about swinging the ball. I met Imran Khan at a final in Pakistan and asked him for advice – I knew my natural delivery was the inswinger, but I had no idea the direction of swing was dependent on the way I gripped the ball. Imran Khan told me it depended very much on the action and that my action did lend itself to inswing. Imran Khan taught me how to bowl inswing.

When the regional U19s came around again in 2006, they started the academy and I attended alongside a number of other good bowlers, including Junaid Khan. They took a liking to my bowling at the academy and recommended me for the Pakistan U19 team to face India. However, when I came for open trials I didn't do myself justice and I as a result wasn't selected.

I continued to try for the U19s, but received a huge setback when I was given a 12-month ban after trying out for the U19s for a fourth time. I was not aware the rules stated the limit was three. After that I contemplated giving up cricket as I had sacrificed my education for the game, but luckily the Pakistan A team had come to Abbbotabad to practice. The association called me as there were no other local bowlers available. When I went and bowled in the nets, Shahid Aslam questioned why I was not playing cricket on a regular basis. I told him about my ban and he talked to board officials who overturned the ban.


Domestic cricket.

Shaukat Mirza, Karachi and Abbotabad regional coach, assessed my bowling and told Jalaluddin I should be selected, as I was currently at the level of a very good first-class bowler. The following day I was asked to visit the Islamabad Customs team where I bowled in the nets and was selected.

In the first innings of my first-class debut for Islamabad Customs in 2009, I got four wickets against ZTBL. The team got itself into a very good position but due to inexperience I was unable to achieve a five-wicket haul and nor could I save the team with my batting.

That was a turning point in my life – playing first class cricket and proving I could take wickets.

My home club Abbotabad used to finish mid-table, but after I performed well they came into Division One. I was unlucky as after the first six matches I had gotten 36 wickets but against State Bank the ball hit my foot and fractured it. As a result I was sidelined from the top order but I still managed to come top in my region and we were promoted to Division One.


My bowling.

I have a high arm action and admire the actions of Courtney Walsh and Steve Harmison. I watch them closely and try to incorporate the best elements of their actions into my own.

I used to struggle to control the new ball but have worked hard to address this weakness and improved my opening spells. I also have a very strong focus on my fitness, and line and length.


My favourite player.

Imran Khan is the ideal cricketer and I want to play cricket with the same focus. I also like Shoaib Akhtar's aggression. Glenn McGrath and Mohammad Asif I have watched closely and try very hard to follow their impeccable line and length. In particular, watching Mohammad Asif bowl in domestic cricket has been very beneficial for me. I have the video of his test wickets against India on my mobile and is the first thing I used to watch when I got out of bed every morning! I'd then try and bowl replicate those deliveries in matches.



Best Batsman faced on the Domestic Circuit.

When a bowler is in rhythm, he fears no batsman. However, once a batsman is settled, it becomes more difficult.

In one of the domestic matches, Saeed Anwar Jr. played me very well. I was swinging the ball and all the other batsmen were struggling but Saeed was very confident and played me and with ease. I eventually got him out, but after he'd scored a century.

Ahmed Shehzad made 170 and I found him difficult, but overall there are not many batsmen who I have struggled against.


Best personal performance.

I got eight wickets against State Bank which was memorable. Against Lahore I got seven in an innings, - I remember Abbotabad had never defeated Lahore and I had them six down for only 40 runs.

This season, against National Bank we needed a lead and I got six good wickets including Kamran Akmal, Fawad Alam, Umar Amin and Hammad Azam. In one six-over spell I got six wickets for 25 runs.

I want more performances like this in future.


Playing in the same team as Younis Khan.

I like Younis Khan's body language as it's always very positive. I also have great admiration for his captaincy skills. Some captains, their attitude is off, but he gives players confidence and supported me when I was bowling. That kind of support from an international captain gives you a lot of hope for the future.


On training at the National Cricket Academy.

Mohsin Kamal is our fast bowling coach. He focuses on me a lot and only yesterday I was talking with him and he told me “you are a 99% there as a bowler”. The remaining 1% relates to the fact that my body would fall away in my action but we're working on rectifying that. This has allowed me to view the perfect length for longer and Mohsin Kamal has been instrumental in this. He has helped me a lot.


Pace.

Batsmen who have faced me have estimated I bowl at over 136kph, and I've bowled quicker than this too. I was clocked by a speed gun at 130kph, but that was during the evening and that too during Ramadan. I personally feel I bowl between 136 to 140kph.