I was meaning to write about Ibtisam after the 1st game but Multan’s strategic choice took a preference. Then after the 2nd game, it had to be Ibtisam, but Umaid Asif’s story had more romance to it. When I started looking a story for the 3rd game, there was no way I could choose any another angle to the game. It had to be Ibtisam Sheikh. We get super excited when we see a new batsman, because we don’t get very many. Fast bowler, our proud lineage is worth showing off. Spinners, well we will get another one no worries. That’s how we see it.
But a decent fielder excites us no other. Ibtisam in 2 days has shown excellent fielding skills. His 1st PSL wicket was a catch of his own bowling running backwards as the ball flies over his head. They say it’s one of the most difficult jobs in cricket. But he made it look fairly easy. But yesterday’s catch was an absolute stunner.
A few people on social media were questioning the praise. It’s a regulation catch in modern day cricket they claim. Well, not for Pakistani cricketers. We can pick out examples, where players do not commit to catches and take the safer option. They don’t anticipate catches, or simply don’t have the conviction to make such an attempt. For a youngster in his 3rd match, to take that plunge was amazing and encouraging at the same time.
As for his bowling, he has all the tools to succeed in modern day cricket i.e. he spins the ball both ways, considerably. He has also shown control over line and length in face of a greater threat as shown by his wicket of Andre Russel, Babar Azam and Colin Ingram. With a supporting captain like Sammy to show him the way, the youngster from Hyderabad could be one of the breakthrough stars of PSL 3.