He let out a loud roar as he ran past the masterful Virat Kohli. The Indian superstar was finally dismissed after smacking a fluent hundred and a lesser known Pakistani paceman had picked up his second scalp.
Misbah-ul-Haq’s team were battling hard to stop a rampaging Indian batting line and Sohail Khan would provide Pakistan with three more crucial wickets in the final overs assault.
Sohail, who was a shock selection in the Pakistan side after a gap of four years and plenty of bruising performances in the domestic circuit, had come back with a bang on the biggest stage: Pakistan vs India at the 2015 World Cup.
The pre-World Cup hype around Sohail had focussed on his unique training regime of ‘lobbing stones’ over long distances and swimming in the river, but with his performance against India, the fast bowler had proven that he was not a circus act.
He played six more matches in the World Cup and it appeared for a moment that Pakistan had finally found a wicket-taking, right-arm fast bowler in a sea of southpaws. But an injury after the tournament pushed Sohail back into the wilderness.
But the 32-year-old, by his own admission, is ‘firing on all cylinders’ and is now a eyeing a spot in the Pakistan squad, surprising as it may sound, with a newfound love for batting.
“I was injured but I’m fit now. I played First-class matches and then I played in the BPL and the National One-day Cup and now I’m playing in the Pakistan Cup,” Sohail tells Dawn in an interview.
“I’ve played five or six tournaments, and even though God has blessed me with the ability to bowl well, I’ve started concentrating on my batting also. In one of the matches in grade two, I scored 140 not out. And in the final I scored 82, so it has been a good season for me.”
According to Sohail, who made his ODI debut for Pakistan in 2008 on the back of a record-breaking domestic season, says he has ‘recovered fully’ from the injury he sustained at the 2015 World Cup but does not know what the Pakistan Cricket Board’s plans are for him.
“My injury was not that serious even though it took me two months to recover fully. But this is part of cricket and I’m feeling really good now.”
“I haven’t received any word from the board and what their plans are for me. My job is to perform on the domestic circuit and that’s what I’ve done in the past as well. I was also the best bowler and the best all-rounder in the grade 2 tournament.”
“I’m just waiting for an opportunity and hopefully will soon be back playing international cricket.”
Sohail appeared a bit rusty in the two Pakistan Cup outings, but his performances in the 2015-2016 National ODI Cup where he picked up 17 wickets from six matches and a decent show in the Pakistan Super League have kept his spirits high.
His effort against India last year also gives him hope that he is good enough at the international level despite being in and out of the team.
“I think my greatest performance was undoubtedly the World Cup match against India. I was on top of the world, it was an unbelievable feeling to get a five-for on my World Cup debut and that too against India.”
“If I get the call up, I will try to perform just like I did in the 2015 World Cup.”