Mohammed Wasim is one of the most exciting batsmen to emerge from Pakistan in the 90's. The 22-year-old from Rawalpindi has not been consistent enough to maintain his place in the Pakistan side since making a century on Test debut against New Zealand in 1996-97. Wasim was chosen for Pakistan's current tour to Australia after more than a year's layoff and this tour is a golden opportunity for him to establish his position in the team.
Wasim's entry into the Test team came after he captained the Pakistan Under-19 side (although he had already celebrated his 19th birthday!) on their tour of the West Indies in 1996-97. He was selected in the senior team later in the season against the visiting Kiwis and scored a second innings century in his debut Test at the age of 19 years and 105 days. Wasim's personal satisfaction was tinged with the disappointment of running out of partners as Pakistan fell agonisingly short of their victory target by 44 runs.
In the subsequent Carlton and United triangular series in Australia that Pakistan won, he played several important knocks including a matchwinning 54 against Australia in Hobart. Wasim then went on to captain Pakistan A on their tour of England in the summer of 1997. He had a moderate tour, the highlight of which was a splendid 155 against Yorkshire.
Wasim had a disappointing season in 1997-98 with a top score of 44 in his first nine Test innings and lost his place in the side for the 3rd Test against South Africa in March 1998. However he redeemed himself on his return in the 2nd Test against Zimbabwe at Harare later in the month. With wickets falling all around him he anchored the innings by batting for nine hours and twenty minutes to make a fighting 192 that put Pakistan in a position from which they could force a victory, which they did.
However this proved to be a false dawn for Wasim as he was dropped again after failing against Australia in the 1st Test at Rawalpindi in the 1998-99 series. Although he again captained the Pakistan A team on their troubled tour of New Zealand in 1998-99 (after Rashid Latif was injured early in the tour) he did not do enough to regain his place in the national side.
After a year on the sidelines Wasim is now back in the Pakistan side in the new avatar of opener. Indeed his cause has not been helped by his frequent shunting around in the batting order, having batted in every position upto No.7. Wasim's tour of Australia began on an ominous note when he was hospitalised for an allergic reaction after eating prawn. He had a dismal 1st Test in Brisbane making 18 and 0 and dropping a sitter from Michael Slater when he was on 99.
But, as before, he showed courage under adversity by scoring 91 out of 222 on the first day of the 2nd Test at Hobart. Wasim displayed a judicious blend of aggression and watchfulness, mercilessly despatching the loose delivery. His runs came off just 122 balls and he showed he was unafraid to use his feet against Shane Warne. Warne was hit out of the attack after his first four overs, which went for 26 - all scored by Wasim who deposited him at the fence three times in one over. The world has not seen the last of this young man's graceful artistry with he bat.