Hasan Ali, who was a major part of Pakistan’s Champions Trophy campaign, said that he wants to play like a brave man. He also said that for him, playing cricket is like worshipping it.
In an interview to ESPNcricinfo, Ali said that he tries not to fall short of his plans. “I play cricket as if I worship it. I always feel that I should not fall short of my plans. I want to play like a brave man, like a lion. I followed Vicky [Waqar Younis] bhai a lot; his aggression, his bowling [fascinates me]. But I also bowl according to the conditions. Pace [alone] does not matter. You have to ally it with your skills,” he said.
Pakistan defeated India by 180 runs in the final to clinch their maiden Champions Trophy title. Ali said that he learned a lot from Azhar Mahmood, who has played a big role in his success. He said, “He has taught me a lot about my role, about the bowling plans. He teaches me how to bowl. I always discuss opposition batsmen with him. We talk about the pitch, the ground dimensions, and even which balls will be effective or not.”
Recalling his early days, he said, “I started playing cricket like everyone else in Pakistan: in galli and mohalla [alleys and neighbourhood]. The biggest influence from those days has been my elder brother Ataur Rahman. He didn’t get to play a lot at the domestic level, but he was a very good player. I started playing cricket after watching him. After Allah, if I have belief and respect [for anyone] it is for my brother. If I am successful today, it is because of him. For me, he sacrificed everything.”
“Once my brother realised that I was serious about cricket, he made me a pitch in 2009,” he added. “It is a cement pitch on which I practice even today. We made that pitch with our own hands. We dug the ground two-feet deep, put the concrete in and asked a bricklayer to polish it.”
Ali further said that he did not even stay at home before his debut. “Before my debut, I was not even staying home. My brother made me a room adjacent to the nets. I would only go home to freshen up and meet my parents. My brother wanted me to be always serious about my cricket,” he said.