Hasan Ali achieves childhood dream

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DUBAI: Pakistan’s pacer Hasan Ali has emerged as a new number one among bowlers in the latest MRF Tyres ICC ODI Player Rankings while South Africa batsman AB de Villiers has once again grabbed the top position in the latest ranking updates carried out on Friday.
Hasan Ali’s haul of five for 34 in the third ODI against Sri Lanka in Abu Dhabi, which his team won by seven wickets for a decisive 3-0 lead in the five-match series, has given the pace bowler a big boost in ranking points.
The 23-year-old, who has taken nine wickets in the series so far, has moved up six places to become the fifth bowler at the top of the ODI rankings this year after Trent Boult, Imran Tahir, Kagiso Rabada and Josh Hazlewood.
Pakistan’s Mohammad Hafeez is back as the top all-rounder, edging Bangladesh’s Shakib Al Hasan. Hafeez, who first attained top ranking in January 2013, has reached the top spot for the ninth time.
Outside of the top 20, Sri Lanka’s Suranga Lakmal (up three places to 36th), South Africa’s Andile Phehlukwayo (up 30 places to 52nd) and Bangladesh’s Rubel Hossain (up seven places to 61st) are the other bowlers to move northwards.
An astonishing knock of 176 by de Villiers in the second ODI against Bangladesh in Paarl, which consisted of 15 fours and seven sixes and came off only 104 balls, has also helped South Africa edge India at the top of the MRF Tyres ICC ODI Team Rankings by taking a 2-0 winning lead in the three-match series.
The latest rankings, which take into account the first two matches of the South Africa-Bangladesh series and the first three matches of the ongoing Pakistan-Sri Lanka series in the United Arab Emirates, sees de Villiers climb to the top of the ODI table for the 14th time in his career.
De Villiers, who has leapfrogged Australian David Warner and India captain Virat Kohli, had first attained top position on 30 May 2010 and the number of days he has spent at the top is second most after retired Windies great Vivian Richards. De Villiers has now been at the top for 2,124 days while Richards was number one for 2,306 days.
Other batsmen to move up include Pakistan’s Babar Azam (up two places to a career-best fourth position), the South African pair of Quinton de Kock (up three places to fifth) and Hashim Amla (up two places to ninth), and Bangladesh’s Mushfiqur Rahim (up five places to 18th).
Hasan Ali is officially the world´s best one-day bowler, with an early career record surpassing even legendary compatriot Waqar Younis and a unique ´bomb explosion´ wicket celebration which is just as eye-catching.
The 23-year-old, who is the leading wicket-taker in the ongoing series against Sri Lanka, has enjoyed a meteoric rise in just 14 months. He became the joint third fastest bowler to claim 50 one-day wickets with the mark achieved in 23 matches, the same number as Australian icon Dennis Lillee and four games fewer than Waqar.
Since making his ODI debut against Ireland in August in 2016, Hasan is the leading wicket taker with 54 victims. He is also the best this year with 43 wickets in 17 matches.
Hasan has helped Pakistan to a 4-0 lead in the current series against Sri Lanka with 12 wickets, including 5-34 in Abu Dhabi. He also played a leading role in Pakistan´s Champions Trophy win in June in England where he finished with 13 wickets and was named player of the tournament.
But what has also attracted fans around the world is his celebration every time he takes a wicket – he mimics a bomb explosion, pumping the blasting mechanism which leads to the blast.
Hasan first played cricket in his native town of Ladhay Wala Wraich near Gujranwala, an area famous for producing wrestlers and kabbadi players. Hasan´s elder brother Ataur Rehman noticed his talent at an early age and organised a gym and a pitch in the backyard of their family home.
“My elder brother was the greatest influence on my career and after a few first-class seasons I was picked by Peshawar franchise in the first edition of the Pakistan Super League (PSL),” recalls Hasan. Recruited as an emerging player, Hasan was mentored by former England coach Andy Flower and ex-Pakistan paceman Mohammad Akram. “I have been blessed with success and the Champions Trophy victory was the best thing. The next big goal is to win the 2019 World Cup in England,” said Hasan.