Mohammad Haris – The perfect foil to Babar-Rizwan's anchorism?
There are bowling units that can rattle their opponents, and then there is Pakistan – a cricketing nation that didn’t merely perfect the art of pure, unadulterated fast bowling but expanded its scope multifold, and continue to do. For reference, think: Naseem Shah’s use of the slower ball!
Chuck the prowess of their wrist spinner, Shadab Khan, in the mix, and it works like icing on the cake. They have all the right reasons in the world to bank on their bowlers to win them matches, as they very well do.
In this setup, Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan sneak in quite well. Although, they often face the brunt of appropriate critique for their manner of batting in T20s. But primarily, as the team does not need to chase enormous totals regularly, Pakistan’s stalwart opening duo sees them through more often than not.
Plus, it helps to have gems like Shadab Khan and even Mohammed Nawaz, the great balancers of team balance, who besides giving you eight overs of spin bowling, can up the ante with the bat.
All things considered – like that last, annoying food stain on your saucepan that just wouldn’t erase off – there still remains, (or remained?) a bothersome void of not having a top-order boundary smasher, a SKY-like run enforcer who does not bat an eye who's bowling.
Rise 21-year-old, Mohammad Haris!
He’s someone who wasn't even in the world cup squad and had played just one T20I and 5 PSL games before replacing the injured Fakhar Zaman. He’s someone who has lit the world cup for Pakistan, and everyone else.
With scores of 28 off 11, 31 off 18, and as important innings of 30 vs NZL in the semis as any, where he hit a Kohli-esque flick, in terms of aesthetic and criticality, for six over long-leg in the final overs, his ideology matches his praxis. "My game is such that I take the attack to every bowler. I didn't look at the bowler, whether it was Rabada or Nortje or whoever else," he said, expressing an irreverence so characteristic of a young, modern T20 batter.
The sample size of his performances is limited but the boy from Peshawar packs a punch, simmers with the correct kind of intent, and, if he becomes a long-stay in this lineup, he might well trouble the opening hierarchy of Babar-Rizwan, because what's the best time to smack boundaries and only boundaries, if not in the powerplay.