DateLine: 10th February 2011
To make your international debut in a tournament as huge as the World Cup would be nerve wracking for any cricketer. Sleepless nights and butterflies in the stomach would be expected. However 21 year old left arm pace bowler Junaid Khan was as relaxed as they come when he spoke exclusively to PakPassion.net
North West Frontier Province born Junaid has been a consistent performer in junior cricket, domestic cricket and for the Pakistan "A" side. He's steadily worked his way up the pecking order with some excellent figures in the last couple of seasons for Abbottabad and performed well recently for the Pakistan "A" side in the Caribbean earlier this year. His opportunity has arisen due to the unfortunate fitness concerns regarding fellow left armer Sohail Tanvir.
"I'm really excited at the thought of playing for my country in the World Cup" stated Junaid. "I obviously feel sorry for Sohail (Tanvir) and would have liked to have been called up into the squad in better circumstances, as it's not good news for Sohail."
Khan has widely been praised for his temperament and calmness under pressure and he feels that he won't be overawed by the occasion if he's given an opportunity in the World Cup.
"I'll treat it as just another game of cricket. I've represented my country at junior levels and Pakistan "A", so I know what the responsibility of playing for your country is like. I don't think I'll have any nerves and I'm confident I can handle the situation."
Khan's first class statistics make for impressive reading having taken 167 wickets at only 21 apiece. He's a young bowler who has worked hard to improve as a cricketer and he feels that his selection for the World Cup as Tanvir's replacement is warranted.
"I've been working so hard over the last couple of seasons and I feel that I have consistently improved as a bowler. I've also been working hard on my batting and I feel that my callup for the World Cup is warranted as I have done consistently well at all levels for Pakistan. My family and I are praying that the World Cup goes well for myself and Pakistan and that we come home with the Trophy in our hands."
Khan will be travelling to Lahore on Thursday ahead of the pre World Cup get together, as Pakistan prepare for their two warm up matches in Bangladesh against England and the hosts.
(Article: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author only.
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