All-rounder Sohail Tanvir is likely to make a Twenty20 International (T20I) comeback after a 10-month-long hiatus during Pakistan’s one-off contest against England at Old Trafford, Manchester today. The 31-year-old last donned Pakistan’s colours in November 2015 in a T20I contest against England at the United Arab Emirates.
Dawn: After performing in CPL you’re now coming back in the national side, how are you feeling?
Sohail Tanvir: I am very happy. When you wear the green shirt, it gives you happiness ─ unmatched happiness. There are financial benefits attached to playing in leagues around the world, but nothing is bigger than playing for your country.
I am in good rhythm and in good form. I have bowled consistently in the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) and the Pakistan Cup. I hope that I’ll carry the form to the international level.
There was only one match; It is difficult to make comebacks. It was a bit harsh to drop me after I was the highest wicket taker for Pakistan in 2015.
“I’m at a stage where I want to play cricket consistently.”
Dawn: Your performance in the leagues has been better than that for Pakistan. What are the reasons behind this?
Sohail: I don’t think I have underperformed for Pakistan.
Every player goes through ups and down. In my case, when I am going through a rough patch, there are some people who exploit that.
In leagues, you have chances to cover up for poor performances. But, in international cricket there are only a few games in a series and if you are playing in only one format that is a disadvantage for you.
I bowl two overs in powerplay and two in the death. My economy rate is 7.15, which is not bad. I have one wicket per game, which is again not bad.
Dawn: Pakistan has not been up to the mark in the shorter formats and our performance graph is showing a downward trend. What are your thoughts about it?
Sohail: Our T20I performances have fallen in the last one-and-a -half years and it is because our contemporaries have improved. They are taking the T20I seriously and they do their homework.
Our cricket standards have fallen, I don’t know what are the reasons. We have the players, it is only about their utilisation in the team.
We should think about the combinations of youth and experience like other teams.
Dawn: You’re playing the National T20, what do you think? Why is new talent not coming in the field?
Sohail: There are many reason for the decline of interest in cricket in our country.
The first one is the security. Parents don’t send their kids out to play. The street cricket is dying!
Moreover, there is no international cricket.
If I look at my childhood, we did not have any activity other than going to ground after our school time. Now kids have many indoor activities like online gaming.
Parents also desire to keep their children indulged in the indoor activities. These things have translated into a lack of cricketing-talent in the country.
“My economy rate is 7.15, which is not bad. I have one wicket per game, which is again not bad.”
Dawn: You will now play under a new captain, are you looking forward to it?
Sohail: Sarfraz has a history of leading cricket teams ─ He has led the [Pakistan] under-19 team, Karachi, and Quetta Gladiators in Pakistan Super League. I don’t think there will be any problem for him to take up the captaincy.
It is a big achievement to lead Pakistan. We have played a lot of cricket together and we understand each other.
I wish him all the best!
My goal, right now, is to cement my place in the team. I’m at a stage where I want to play cricket consistently. When you are struggling for your place in the team, you cannot set higher goals for yourself.
Dawn: Do you agree that new players don’t get proper chances, just after one or two bad performances the management tends to drop them?
Sohail: Players should be given time to prove themselves. You need to have an eye to detect the talent.
It all boils down to the ability of the people who identify the young players. Our culture is different, there is a lot pressures on us ─ like that of social media. Our people tend to get very emotional.
Dawn: After a few bad performance fans start to “troll” sportsmen. As a player what do you feel about this?
Sohail: Players are also human beings and they get hurt when bad is spoken about them [on social media].
We have friends and family who convey all the happenings of the social media to us. When I come across such stuff, it stays at the back of my mind.
We make heroes and villains on the basis of a single game. I think people should only speak those words that they can listen for themselves.