Pakistan cricket has a history of introducing players out of the blue and then mishandling them ultimately ending their cricketing careers. Yes, they might need improvement in their batting, bowling and even fielding skills, but stamping them out of proportion is not really good, for both parties.
While cricket fans like me ask a lot of questions about Fawad Alam’s return or Sadaf Hussain’s inclusion for that matter, we often forget a number of players who might have improved their game significantly after being blown out of the scene by the team management.
Awais Zia is another name in the long list of forgotten players.
Awais Zia is a forgotten left-handed smasher who has totally gone out of favors with the national selectors. Not just this, no team has picked the aggressive opener in any of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) editions despite his name being in the drafts.
The batsman hailing from Bhown, Chakwal might not be making a case for national selection, but ignoring him in the PSL, that’s totally unjust.
We all often wonder how Pakistan’s opening would look if Fakhar Zaman and Sharjeel Khan came out to bat together, don’t we? Carnage, we hope. But, oh, Sharjeel is gone for good and there’s no flamboyancy in the top order batsmen.
There’s no doubt that Awais is showcasing great form and his numbers are there to back him up as well. His numbers, domestically and playing overseas, are both extremely good.
Numbers Speak for Themselves
Awais might not have performed well at the international level in a very short limited-overs career, but he has been a consistent run-getter at the domestic circuit no matter the format.
Let’s have a look at some of the recent records accumulated by the dynamite-esque left-hander.
Quaid-e-Azam One Day Cup 2018-19
In the recent Quaid-e-Azam One-Day Cup, Awais Zia averaged 66.0 with 1 century and 3 fifties in 7 games while playing for Sui Southern Gas Corporation.
The batsman is in the top run-scorers list with 396 runs and a best of 108*. The left-hander is more known for his flair and aggressive strike rate; he ended up with 108.79 which is one of the highest among the leading run scorers.
English Club Cricket
Awais Zia has been playing club cricket for Aston Hall in England for some time now; he has played three seasons for the club in 2014, 2016 and 2018.
Overall, the batsman has played 59 games across three seasons, scoring 2651 runs at 53.02, including 9 centuries and 12 half-centuries.
Zia accumulated 1406 runs in 27 innings at a staggering 58.58 in 2018, scoring 5 tons and 6 fifties with a best of 138.
One Day Cup 2016
Awais Zia has been scoring runs consistently over the past few years, strengthening his case for a place in any of the PSL franchises. However, no team has looked towards the hard-hitting batsman.
With the draft coming up, it might be an opportunity for the franchises to bag a handy player, who also bowls occasional off-spin.
In 2016 edition of the national One-Day tournament, Zia was the fourth highest run-scorer with 403 at 44.77 with a strike rate 99.50. He also made 4 50+ scores with one of the highest strike rates among the leading run-getters.
SAARC U25 T20 Cup
Awais Zia also earned the call-up for the SAARC U25 T20 Cup which Pakistan won by beating Sri Lanka in the final in 2011. The tournament took place before the left-hander got his maiden gig against England in UAE in 2012.
Zia smacked centuries in both Semi-Final and the Final, scoring 119 off 52 and 101 off 44 against the Maldives and Sri Lanka respectively, helping his side clinch the trophy with ease. It was that series that opened the gates for an international debut.
With these recent performances and a reputation for dismantling good bowling line-ups, the batsman definitely deserves a chance at least for the premier T20 tournament.
He might even be good for an international call-up especially in the T20I cricket.
What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments section!