Manchester [UK], Aug 27 (ANI): 19-year-old Haider Ali has said that being selected in Pakistan's squad for the T20I series against England is nothing but a 'dream come true'.
Ali had made headlines over the course of the 2019-20 season on the back of his dazzling stroke play and impressive knocks across formats, including the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup 2020.
"This is a dream come true for me. Every young cricketer wishes to be here. This is my first tour and though I have shared a dressing room with established cricketers in the HBL PSL 2020, being in the Pakistan dressing room is altogether a different experience," the official website of Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) quoted Ali as saying.
Younis Khan, who is currently the batting coach of Pakistan also praised Ali's work ethic and said that the youngster is always eager to learn.
"Haider has that will and skill which turn a youngster into a good player. He has that spark and he is always eager to learn. I believe he is an upcoming star of Pakistan and he will perform whenever he gets a chance. He is strong and his fitness is improving day-by-day. He has a bright future and the ability to play all formats for Pakistan," Younis Khan said.
Ali comes into the Pakistan lineup after a prolific 2019-20 season in which he made 645 first-class runs at 49.62 and amassed 239 runs at a staggering strike rate of 158.27 in the Pakistan Super League 2020 to finish as the joint second-highest run-getter for his team (Peshawar Zalmi) along with veteran Shoaib Malik.
His 14 sixes were the most by any Zalmi batsman in the fifth edition of the league, which was played in Pakistan.
Ali had featured in the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup under Rohail Nazir earlier this year in which he earned praises from the game's greats for his scintillating strokes.
He scored a fighting half-century in a semi-final against India. In 19 U-19s 50-over matches, Ali has scored 655 runs, including a century and six half-centuries at an average just below 39.
"This is my first tour of England. The conditions here are different than Pakistan and even a different kind of ball is used here. Arriving here two months early has been beneficial, as it has provided me the necessary time to practice - in nets and match scenarios - and be acclimatised. I am looking forward to making the most of what I have learned from my previous experiences," Ali said.
Pakistan is slated to face England in three T20Is and the first match will be played on Friday, August 28 at the Emirates Old Trafford.
The visitors had lost the three-match Test series 0-1 and as a result, England managed to win their first Test series against Pakistan in the last ten years. (ANI)