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Interview with Aamer Sohail.

CricInfo player profile on Aamer Sohail

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  Aamer Sohail is one of Pakistan's most successful attacking opening batsmen. Till the time of this interview he has played 41 tests and 137 ODI's for Pakistan. His test average is 37.01 with 4 centuries and in ODI's has scored over 4200 runs at an average of 32.46 and has taken 72 wickets. He took some time out from the ongoing Training Camp of the Pakistani players preparing for the 1998-99 season to chat to us on the IRC channel #crickettalk, live from Lahore on 3 June 1998. Questions were accepted via the live chat channel and via email. Suhael Ahmed assisted Aamer in the interview while Samir Chopra (Samir on IRC) was the moderator.

Aamer Sohail is here with us now. now. On behalf of Cricinfo and #cricket, I'd like to welcome Aamer Sohail to #crickettalk. Good to have you with us today.

AamirSohail: It is good to be here.

Anthony, Israel: Hi. Thanks for joining us. Do you find the continuing
captaincy changes in the team disconcerting?

AamirSohail: In a way they are but the PCB may have a problem that they have not found the best person for the job.

Monish, India: 1) Is Sachin Tendulkar the best player in the world?
2) Do you think this years Sahara Cup will be more keenly watched by cricket lovers because of the recent developments that have occurred between the two countries?

AamirSohail: I think Sachin is one of the best batsmen in the world and regardless of recent developments our matches are keenly watched everywhere and I think it will be the same this year.

Deon, South Africa: I would think that Pakistani cricketers - like their Indian counterparts - come in for a lot of flak and adulation from their fans, press, cricket unions - how do you deal with it?

AamirSohail: If you are in the limelight you must take the flak and adulation at the same time and learn to cope with it.

ahsan: Has Afridi's batting style improved at all yet or are you guys still working on it?

AamirSohail: My opinion is Afridi's first job is to bowl ten overs in an ODI economically. His batting is a plus to the team and the team has to use his batting ability according to the situation and he may not need to open everytime and his batting ability has to be used after weighing the oppositions bowling and fielding at the same time. As far as the team is concerned they always try to give him helpful tips to improve his skills as a bat and it depends on how much hard work he puts in.

Samir: Aamir, This next question is one, lots of people have asked.

Rakesh, India: How do feel when India and Pakistan play, that is, how is the relationship on and off the ground (Note: And especially between players)?

AamirSohail: The relationship is actually very good on and off the field. As far as cricket is concerned Pakistan has always played very competitive cricket with all the oppositions and this is the same with India.

Donald, South Africa: Pakistan had a reasonably successful tour of South Africa earlier this year - playing very good cricket at times ... the highlight of the series was Pakistan's batting vs South Africa's bowling - how do you rate their test attack?

AamirSohail: South African bowling attack revolves around Alan Donald and because of his presence the attack performs very well. In my opinion RSA attack is one of the best in the world.

Suhail, Pakistan: I want Aamir to answer what is his opinion of playing Rashid and Moin at the same time in eleven players squad?

AamirSohail: In my opinion if Rashid and Moin are being played in the playing eleven there must be reasons and the reason is since Pakistan has not established any new batsmen and Moin has performed very well with the bat there was not any harm in that.

Murari, India: Who do you feel are the best bowler/bat/fielder you've played against?
Samir: (Note: This question also asked by Mihir Patel and Kallol Mukherjee and UCLA Library and Sheena NY. I will have their other questions later, time permitting.)

AamirSohail: The best bowler is Courtney Walsh. Best bat is Mark Waugh and fielder is Jonty!

Ritesh Kapur, India: Just looking for his (Aamer's-ed) comment on his being bowled by Venkatesh Prasad in the crucial world cup Q/F in Bangalore in 96. Does he regret getting carried away and throwing his wicket when he could have stayed and won the match for Pakistan?
Samir: (Note: Similar question asked by Rahul Deo, AIS and AJ Raghunathan)

AamirSohail: It was not getting carried away but it was a demand of the situation since we were trying to achieve some target we had sacrificed our wicket from the first ball to make it easier for our middle order batting which consisted of four great players and I just wanted to make it easier for them and the way I was batting from the first ball I was bound to miss one whether I made a gesture or not and I have done that to most of the bowlers of the world many times but because of one biased commentator sitting in the box it was made into a big issue.

Samir: Care to name that commentator, Aamir? :)

AamirSohail: I'd rather leave it to you, please watch the recording of the game!

Toby Clayton, Australia: Which was your favourite innings at test level - please also mention any personal highlights of your cricket career so far?

AamirSohail: It was against Australia, the third test in '94, I was injured and had to bat at No.7 and we had to bat 4 sessions to win the series and actually I played full sessions to save the series for Pakistan. My personal highlight was winning the World Cup and captaining the Pakistan team in a test match.

Anthony, Israel: Do you prefer playing Tests or 1day Internationals? And why?

AamirSohail: I prefer tests, the reason is, it is actually the test of your technique, temperament and abilty.

Mustafa Hemani, USA: Why is our team so unstable and unpredictable? Do you think our team is marred by politics and some of the veteran players are non-serious and non-determined? What steps can we take to utilize the enormous talent that Pakistan possesses?

AamirSohail: The Pakistan team has been playing cricket only with their ability and determination and the team is still one of the best in the world. The only thing we lack is some strategy and thinking to get better results. The best example is South Africa who plan a strategy and stick with it. They play on their strength and on the weaknesses of the opposition. Cricket is a scientific game nowadays and we have to prepare ourselves accordingly or scientifically to get better and consistent results.

Donald, South Africa: The 1999 World Cup is not that far away, certain teams have already started their preparation ... how is the feeling in the Pakistan camp regards next years World Cup - any preparation yet?

AamirSohail: Yes we are already having a traning camp and we are trying to improve our physical abilty and stamina which we had lacked for the last 1.5 years and after 6 weeks will start working on our fielding and cricket skills and our new Chairman of the PCB, is very keen to help and provide better environments and facilities for the cricketers which we had lacked over the years.

Samir: Before this next question, a toughie :), I'd like to say once again that we are glad to have you here.

AamirSohail: Thank you! :-)) and likewise

Deon, South Africa: Much has been said, about the Pakistani tour to South Africa recently, and in some quarters - it was regarded as a failure, as well as an embarassment to Pakistani cricket as a whole in light of on and off the field incidents question to you Mr. Sohail is - how have you seen it ?

AamirSohail: When we reached RSA, every newspaper had some articles suggesting that the Pakistan team would be the weakest opposition who have toured South Africa in recent years and some of the former cricketers in South Africa even wrote the people shouldn't be bothered to buy 4th days tickets to go and see the match. As it turned out to be a tough series for South Africa and then in the ODIs Pakistan camp was struggling because of injuries and a few of the players had to return home. Even then Pakistan was in the finals and in my opinion Pakistan had a farly good series even without their key players. Off the field the one particular instance was blown out of proportion.

Ahsan Rabbani, Islamabad: In your opinion, who are the top three batsmen in the world? And Do you think Saeed is better or Inzamam?

AamirSohail: Well the top three batsmen are Sachin, Lara and Inzamam and if you try and compare Saeed or Inzi, they are different players all together and both are great players.

Abraham, England: How do you rate Mushie v Warne v Kumble?

AamirSohail: I would bracket Mushie and Warne at the same level and as far as Kumble is concerned he has to perform outside India to be even closer to both of them.

Robinson, England: Do you really think there is bribery in Cricket these days?

AamirSohail: On this issue whatever I had to say I have said it and abide by it.

mugwump, NZ: Whats your most devastating loss?

AamirSohail: Sorry phone call, moment please.

AamirSohail: Definitely losing the World Cup in 1996 because we had the best chance and the best team to win it twice in a row.

adeel: After the incidents in WI and SA don't you think many players don't deserve to go to any international tours?

AamirSohail: Please don't ask me this question please ask the Board officials about this.

Greg Chapman, Australia: I was wondering, about the Forthcoming Australian Tour of Pakistan. What players in the Pakistan side does Australia have to look out for? And also what players in the Australian side does Pakistan have to look out for ?

AamirSohail: Both the teams consist of world class players and instead of watching out for individual players its the whole team and we are ready for them as I am sure Aussies are ready for us.

Badri, India: Some say there is too much ODI cricket vs Tests, what do you feel?

AamirSohail: In the 80's there were only about 5 to 7 test matches one country used to play but now its about 12 to 15 and ODIs were about 10 in a year and I think the ratio is still the same. Cricket has become more commerical as a result of ODIs.

Keith, South Africa: Is a test World Cup a good idea?

AamirSohail: A very good idea because there is a lot of roaring that Aus or Pak or RSA is the best team and this would decide the test champions.

No-Fear, Pakistan: There were rumours here in Pak that you had a fight with Wasim and thus you got injured and you had to return from SA.... how much of this is true?

AamirSohail: Nothing! I fractured my scaphoid bone while playing.

Suhail, Pakistan: You are a very good bowler, why don't you improve your bowling. I have seen that when Pakistan needs a change in bowling, there is always no sign of you. Only sometimes?

AamirSohail: Its up to the Captain to use me. I was the regular fifth bowler till the 1996 Sahara Cup and after that the Captain didn't think that I was good enough to bowl.

Kate: How do you think the October series against Australia will go and do you think that the loss of Shane Warne will affect Australia's chances very much?

AamirSohail: I think, very much.

Keith, South Africa: During the recent trip to RSA, there was an incident early on in JHB. How much pressure did that put on the team?

AamirSohail: Actually there was no pressure on the team, they were annoyed and this annoyance really geared them up to perform better.

Rony, USA: 1) Are you confident enough as an allrounder? I mean can you think of yourself as a bowler (wicket taker) and a batsman (wicket saver) at the same time? If you do feel confident then in which style of the game?
2) Will you be dissapointed if Captaincy of the Pakistan's National Team is not given to you? And how about your confidence as a captain of Pakistan's cricket team? meaning was that one test win against South African enough morale booster for you after not a good performance prior to that....?

AamirSohail: Your First Q, I would say so far whatever the role I was given either as a batsman or a bowler or as a matter of fact as a keeper, I have delivered reasonably well. There are always ups and downs in the career of any player because its natures law.
Your second Q: I have already captained Pakistan in two full tournaments, one at Singapore and the other at Sharjah and won the S'pore tourney and Captained Pak in two tests having won one of them. I think it is quite enough for a morale booster. Naming the captain of the Pak team is up to the Cricket Board and whatever the decision they make will be good for me and Pakistani cricket.

Deon, South Africa: A typical argument between the "purists" of the game, and the revolutionaries that aggressiveness (as exemplified by the Australians, and South Africans to an extent) is needed to be part of the modern game in order to win more matches. Your comments? Do you share the sentiments of a more aggressive game - seeing that you are not too shy of a few comments yourself during a game?

AamirSohail: To be successful in every sport you need aggressiveness, pride and attitude so in my opinion aggressiveness is very important but one does not have to cross the line.

mugwump, NZ: In 1993 when you were in New Zealand, in the first One Day International, you caught Martin Crowe at cover. Following the catch you screamed something abusive at him (not repeatable) Can I ask you, why you had such strong feelings against Crowe at that time?

AamirSohail: I dont use abusive language and I dont recall abusing Martin Crowe at any time but maybe I was too excited having taken his catch. I do not have any strong feelings against Martin but he had some against Pakistan which he always showed. :-)

Ahsan Rabbani, Pakistan: - Do you think you will be appointed captain for the next series? Do you like to captain for the team?

AamirSohail: I have already answered this question, its up to the Cricket Board and who wouldn't like to be the Captain because its the highest honour for a sportsman to Captain the National Side.

Anish Aryal: What is the best innings you have witnessed in test cricket?

AamirSohail: Gordon Greenidge when he scored a double century against England in England.

Kate: Do you think that the Commonwealth Games or is it just a waste of players' precious time?
Samir: I think Kate is asking whether the Games are worth it :)

AamirSohail: Kate, I think they are worth it because you can win a gold medal for your country and yourself another honour.

David Coady, USA: Do you think Australia will/should cancel their tour of Pakistan because of the nuclear tests?

AamirSohail: Why should sport be politicised? I hope not!

Ijaz Mohammed: Great Job controlling the team in that historical test win in SA. Do you believe Rashid had the mental maturity and the leadership qualities to lead Pakistan in the recent SA series?

AamirSohail: Moment please a phonecall

AamirSohail: Thanks for the compliments. I think Rashid did a good job, he was handicapped because of injuries in the team.

bilal: 1) How do you rate Sanatha Jayasuriya with Saeed Afridi, Aravinda De Silva with Sachin Tendulkar. And how do you rank Arjuna Ranatunga with any other present captains?
2) How does one international cricketer plays well in one particular country and when he goes to another country he loses his form. Is it the wickets that makes the difference or the bowling attack?
3) How does Wasim Akram changes his pace even running from a short run up?

AamirSohail: Q1: We cannot compare Jayasuriya and Afridi. We use Afridi as a pinch hitter whereas Jaya has scored a triple century in a test while Afridi has yet to play a test match. Both Arvinda and Sachin are class players and they have different techniques. Arjuna is one of the best Captains in the game today.
Q2: Losing form is not a big thing as it happens to everybody at times even to the bowlers, they struggle to perform well in differnt conditions. Probably, its the conditions and the pressure which brings their form down.
Q3: Thats his secret you had better ask Wasim :-)

Samir: This is a good one :)
Barry Anderson, Austrakia: Have you ever been 'scared' when facing a fast bowler?

AamirSohail: NEVER!

KyooN: Does Aamir Bhai feel that he plays better when he is captain or when he is a regular member?

AamirSohail: Anyways, I love cricket!

Bhaskar Balasubramanian, USA: My question to you is, what in your opinion is needed to have more number of cricket series between India and Pakistan. It always happens that the fans are let down each year due to very few matches between the two countries.
(Note: Especially tests)

AamirSohail: Pakistani people and I think, the government, had no problem of having India coming to Pakistan in the past and the Pakistani people always look forward to watch Pak and India play but every time Pakistan is scheduled to visit India its been politicised and the Pak team is pressurized if they come to India, they wont have any security, letting the Indian fans down.
So this needs to be sorted out by the fans in India to pressurize the government not to politicise this sport of cricket. In fact if we play more cricket more frequently it would improve the relations between the countries.

Greg Chapman, Australia: G'day Aamir, Which Australian bowler or bowlers, do you find hard to play against ?

AamirSohail: Its not easy to play against any bowler. One has to work hard anyway but the bowlers from the Aussie side I respect are Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne.

Ammar Ahmad, USA: What does make Waqar Younis a good bowler on the papers but once one talks about the technical supermacy, one doesn't find Waqar among the top bowlers in the world. (my question is with regard to his line and length and his yield of runs in his quota of overs)?

AamirSohail: I would say Waqar is one of the best fast bowlers Pak has produced and nowadays its right, he is giving away so many runs but the thing is in my opinion, the Captain really has to use him in such a way that he wont be hit for many runs and yet he could get the crucial wickets. I mean the timing needs to be right for Waqar to come and bowl.

Samir: A question from me (in New York): Who do you think are the best new Pakistani fast bowlers?

AamirSohail: I think Shoaib Akhtar, Mohammad Zahid, Mohammad Akram are the best newbies and if they keep on working hard which they do, I see Pakistan continuing its fast bowler dominance for at least 5 years or more.
KyooN: Who do you prefer opening with? Afridi or Anwar?

AamirSohail: Definitely Saeed!

M. N. Uddin, USA: Hello: I am a fan of you. I admire your cricket very much. What's your take on Bangladesh cricket. What should they do to get test status and how's the overall cricket environment in Bangladesh?

AamirSohail: Thanks for admiring my cricket, B'desh cricket is improving day by day, they have to play more cricket internationally and import some foreign coaches. It will take a little while to get test status. It is early days for B'desh cricket.

Asif, Pakistan: 1. When you have said that Wasim Akram is a corrupt player and he has often made Pakistan lose for his personal gains why have you agreed to play under his captaincy in Quadrangular and Test Series against West Indies?
2. What do you think should we try new players instead of Ejaz Ahmed, M. Waseem, Waqar Younis who kept on disappointing?
3. Should we try for new talent in World Cup 1999, like Shoaib Akthar, M. Zahid, Yousaf Youhana?
4. What is your opinion about exclusion of Saleem Malik in his good form?

AamirSohail: Q1: My job is to play for Pakistan and appointing the Captain is the Cricket Boards job. So I was doing my job and as you know the Board is investigating about the allegations so the chapter is closed for me and its up to the Cricket Board.
Q2: Its the selectors job but if one drops established players for lack of form too quickly it shatters their confidence.
Q3: We should definitely.
Q4: I think this question should be asked to the selectors and as far as Salims ability as a batsman is concerned there is no doubt.

Dr.Panicker, Malaysia: If you were to pick a rest of the world team to play Australia in a Test Match-who would you shortlist?

AamirSohail: Saeed Anwar, G Kirsten, B Lara, Sachin, Inzi, Hansie, Rashid (wk), Wasim, Donald, Walsh, Mushie.

Kate: Who would you rate as 1. the worst test team and 2. the worst ODI team in the world at the moment?

AamirSohail: I would reserve my comments as each of the present teams can perform pathetically on a bad day the next day beat anyone!

UCLA Library, USA: Who is your favourite all-time batsman?

AamirSohail: Javed Miandad.

Samir: On the lighter side: people have asked what your favorite movie is and Kyoon asks whether you plan to get married? :)

AamirSohail: Film is 'Scent of a Woman' and I'll get married when I am ready for. This is an often asked question.

Faisal Butt, Qatar: 1) Are rumours of a serious rift between yourself and Wasim true?
2) How is the recovery of the broken arm going?

AamirSohail: 1) Since you have said 'rumours' please consider it as a rumour.
2) My fracture has healed nicely and the cast is off and will take about 10 more days of physiotherapy and should be ok.

AamirSohail: Last Question please

Kate: Who do you think is the most popular cricketer in 1. Pakistan and 2. the rest of the world?

AamirSohail: In Pakistan it is I think Afridi and in the rest of the world Shane Warne.

Samir: Aamir, once again, on behalf of Cricinfo, #cricket and cricket fans on the Internet, we'd like to thank you for visiting us. Do stop by again.

AamirSohail: I enjoyed it very much and if the fans want me on the internet again they only have to ask, Thank you.

Samir: Thanks to eveyrone who contributed to this Suhael for his part in organizing the interview and all our viewers with questions.

Our thanks to the
Pakistan Cricket Board for making this interview possible. 

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