Sami Aslam, the promising Pakistan opener, is not losing sleep on not getting a hundred in his 11 Tests after he missed another chance to reach the mark on the third day of the first Test against Sri Lanka on Saturday (Saturday).
In fact, Aslam suggested that it was a mistake on the part of the selection committee to drop him after he scored 618 in nine Tests last year — fourth best amongst Pakistani batsmen behind Azhar Ali, Younis Khan and Asad Shafiq.
But more than his poor run in Australia — 48 runs in the four innings — it was Aslam’s failure to follow the fitness standards that was behind his axing for the three-match series in the West Indies, an axing which left the 21-year-old disappointed.
“Yes, I was a bit disappointed,” said Aslam after scoring 51 in the Abu Dhabi Test. “I had scored 600-plus runs on tough tours so I was a slightly disappointed, but I used that time out of the team to improve my fitness and score some runs in domestic matches.”
He hit two brilliant hundreds in the Pakistan Cup One-Day tournament, which convinced the selectors to give him another shot.
Pakistan tried Ahmed Shehzad and Azhar Ali as openers in the first two Tests in the West Indies and swapped Shehzad with Shan Masood in the final Test.
Here, the management decided to use Aslam and Masood — Pakistan’s 16th pair in the past five years — and it paid off. They put 114 for the opening wicket to set a platform for Pakistan, who closed the day on 266 for 4.
Asked if he was worried over not getting a hundred, Aslam said: “I have not taken it into my head. I have the most hundreds at the Under-19 level so this will come sooner than later, but it’s not a worry for me.”
Aslam’s first axing came in 2015 following just 47 runs in two Tests in Bangladesh, but he came back strongly after replacing Masood in the Birmingham Test last year.
“I was run out for 82 at Birmingham and then had a 91 in Hamilton when we were chasing a stiff target against New Zealand so it happens, but I am not worried and will work hard to score that mark.”