HomePakistan NewsHasan Ali 'very excited' to learn from Jimmy bhai during Lancashire stint

Hasan Ali ‘very excited’ to learn from Jimmy bhai during Lancashire stint

Hasan Ali plans to pick James Anderson’s brains during his six weeks as Lancashire’s overseas player and says he is excited to follow in Wasim Akram’s footsteps after his success at the county in the 1990s.

Hasan arrived in Manchester on Saturday and will be available for six County Championship games, starting with Lancashire’s fixture against Kent at Canterbury later this week.

Speaking at the club’s press day, he told ESPNcricinfo that he would “take a lot of wickets” and that he was excited to be back at Emirates Old Trafford, the ground where he made his T20I debut in 2016.

“Honestly, it’s too cold for me,” he said, laughing. “But yeah, I have to adjust. I would like to thank the Lancashire management for the opportunity. I’m very excited and looking forward to sharing the dressing room with their players; obviously we have Jimmy bhai, Jimmy Anderson, so I’m very happy and very excited.

“Honestly, I never spoke with him before. But now I’m going to have a lot of questions to ask him. I’m going to disturb him. [Laughs] We know he’s a great bowler. He swings the ball both ways. I’m going to learn how he swings the ball both ways, especially the cross-seam ball. I’m going to learn it.”

Hasan briefly played with Saqib Mahmood, another of his new team-mates, for Peshawar Zalmi in the Pakistan Super League, and spoke to him on Monday morning about conditions at his new home ground.

“Saqib spoke with me this morning,” he said. “He told me the ball reverses here. We know how to reverse the ball as Pakistan bowlers, since childhood, we used the reverse-swing because they’re tough conditions for the bowlers in Pakistan, dry conditions. It’s similar here. I know the weather is chill, but the square is dry and the wicket is dry so hopefully [I will] get some reverse.

“I played with Saqib bhai for Peshawar Zalmi. He’s a good guy, an exciting player. He just got his Test debut and I’m happy for him. [In the 2021 PSL] he was the best bowler when he left the team. He couldn’t come back [for the second half of the season in the UAE], but he’s a good player.

“I’ve been coming here [for] six years. My first tour here was in 2016 – I made my T20 [international] debut in this ground and I know about English cricket. I’ve played a couple of games here, in the World Cup and T20s. The ball does reverse here and I like to reverse the ball.”

With Pakistan players still effectively blacklisted at the IPL and many of the world’s leading cricketers taking part in that tournament, Hasan and his international team-mates have been in high demand for counties recruiting overseas players for the early stages of the Championship season.

Hasan is one of nine players already in England following Pakistan’s multi-format series against Australia, with a tenth, Shadab Khan, due to arrive for a stint with Yorkshire in the T20 Blast after their ODIs against West Indies in June.

“I think that is a pretty good sign for Pakistan cricket,” he said. “We have nine or ten players who are going to play this season and I think that’s a very good thing for us as a unit. We’re going to get a lot of experience from here and we’ll put it into our domestic and international cricket.

“Since childhood, honestly, we’ve heard about county cricket. [People tell you that] as a professional, you should play county cricket because you’re going to learn a lot of things from there. I’m going to follow in Wasim Akram’s footsteps here. It’s a good opportunity for me.

“I haven’t had the chance [to speak to Wasim]. He was in Australia and he was busy with his family but he said something on social media to me: ‘You’re going to enjoy Lancashire’. That’s enough for me, a legend saying something like that.

“I’m here for the first six games and I am going to get a lot of wickets for my team, Lancashire. Fingers crossed. Let’s hope I will take wickets.”

Matt Roller is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @mroller98

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