Aamer Jamal, who bowled a commendable last over on T20I debut against England on Wednesday, has earned plenty of praise from all quarters – here’s all you need to know about the Pakistan fast bowling all-rounder.
Born in Mianwali, the 26-year-old Aamer Jamal earned his maiden call-up to the national side for the England series alongside the uncapped spinner Abrar Ahmed – the pair had just four career Pakistan Super League appearances between them at the time of their selection.
Jamal, who currently represents Northern in Pakistan domestic cricket, made his first-class debut in September 2018, and his List A debut later that month. He started off playing for Pakistan Television in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy and One-Day Cup, picking up four-wicket and three-wicket hauls in his maiden outings respectively.
His T20 debut only came last year, for Northern in the National T20 Cup, where he picked up a three-wicket haul, dismissing Pakistan internationals Ahmed Shehzad, Shoaib Malik and Faheem Ashraf. In this year’s National T20 Cup, he picked up nine wickets from eight games at 26.55, at an economy of 8.53. He’s also known to be a powerful hitter down the order – his batting strike rate from 13 T20 innings stands at 176.86. In the 2022/23 National T20 Cup, he scored 165 runs at 41.25, at a strike rate of 194.11 – the highest among anyone with at least 150 runs in the tournament.
Interestingly, Jamal has never played in the Pakistan Super League, the highest profile Pakistani domestic T20 competition.
Jamal has progressed through the ranks through age-level cricket in Pakistan, playing inter-district Under-19 tournaments in Islamabad in the early 2010s. In 2014, he earned his chance in the Pakistan U19 team, playing against the touring Afghanistan U19 side that featured the likes of Rashid Khan and Hazratullah Zazai. He went on to feature in the now-defunct PCB Patron’s Trophy – a grade II competition – until 2018, going on to make his first-class debut that year.
Speaking to the PCB ahead of his Pakistan debut, Jamal revealed that in the 2019/20 season, he was a net bowler for the Pakistan team against touring Bangladesh and Sri Lanka sides. “The exposure acted as a motivator – they [international players] are like us, they have worked hard, why can’t we?” he said.
Part of the squad for the seven-match T20Is against England, Jamal found out about his debut ahead of the fifth game from Saqlain Mushtaq, the Pakistan head coach.
“I got to know from Saqi bhai [Saqlain Mushtaq”], who said: ‘Congratulations, you’re playing tomorrow morning’,” Jamal said. “I was like: ‘Should I start crying?'”
“I represented Pakistan at the U19 level, then there was a four-year gap,” he recalled. “But I didn’t give up. Never compromised on hard work. There were many others who quit and left, but I kept saying ‘No, I will keep going on. I can do it.’ Self-belief was there. Never stopped backing myself”.
On debut, Jamal was entrusted with bowling the 20th over, with England’s pair of Moeen Ali and David Willey requiring 15 runs. The self-belief showed, with Jamal nailing the wide yorkers in a crunch situation, giving away just eight runs.
“Babar said we’ll stick to one plan, and asked me what it would be,” Jamal said after the game. “He asked me, and I said: ‘Wide yorker’. He asked again if I can pull it off, and I said yes. He set the field and said: ‘Even if it’s a wide, stick to your plan. I stuck to it and executed it.
“I felt under pressure before the first ball [of the last over], but after that, there was no pressure”.
Words of praise have only been pouring in for Aamer Jamal since. It could just be the beginning of something wonderful.