Pakistan quick Hasan Ali, who dropped Australia’s Matthew Wade at a crucial moment in the T20 World Cup semi-final last year, has opened up about the impact of the criticism he copped following his team’s eventual loss.
Undefeated in the group stages, Pakistan were touted as the favourites when they took on Australia in the final-four clash of the T20 World Cup 2021. Batting first, the Babar Azam-led side scored 176-4 in their 20 overs, and, though Australia got off to a flier, making 52-1 in the powerplay overs, the Pakistan bowlers pulled it back to bring down the equation to 22 in the last two overs.
The 19th over of the innings began with Shaheen Afridi conceding one run in the first two balls before bowling a wide. The re-delivery saw Matthew Wade whip the ball towards Hasan at deep mid-wicket, who was unable to latch on to the catch, the ball slipping through his fingers. The incident charged Wade up, who went on to smash the next three balls for three sixes, taking Australia into the final.
Hasan, who was heavily criticised for the dropped catch on social media, reveals how he spent sleepless nights following the defeat.
Speaking to Cricket Pakistan, he said, “It was the toughest moment of my career and it is quite difficult to forget things like these. When you know you’re close to a win, the players, the team and the whole country is standing with you and praying for you – we were playing well also – for that [dropped catch] to happen, it can’t be forgotten. As a professional, you have to move [on].
“Honestly, I haven’t revealed this to anyone until now but I literally didn’t sleep for two days. My wife was with me and she was worried, saying: ‘You haven’t slept for even a minute'”. My daughter was also there, she’s little, she wasn’t feeling it but my wife was feeling it [stress], saying: “You haven’t slept at all, and you have to travel for the Bangladesh tour.”
“I was quiet and sitting on the side, reliving the moment in my mind continuously. As a professional, you need to move on. When I sat on the flight for Bangladesh, then I thought: ‘No, I have to move [on] for the series ahead’.”
“When I went to Bangladesh, I literally took 500 catches in three days and tried to work on my weakness. The no-ball issue that I was facing, I worked on it for 3-4 days. This is part of the game, and I take it in this sense: you [sometimes] win your side the game, you [sometimes] lose… as an individual, we shouldn’t stop [trying], and the mistakes should be rectified. I try to work on my mistakes as much as I can, and keep contributing to make the team win.”
Hasan further revealed that the dressing room was filled with gloom after the game. “I was crying,” he said. “Shaheen [Afridi] was also crying, it was a very sad atmosphere in the dressing room.”
Support from his teammates and fans helped him get back on track.
“During the match,” Hasan said, “Shoaib [Malik] bhai came up to me at midwicket and said: ‘You are tiger and you shouldn’t fall’. Another catch will come your way, you have to take it. We have to win this”.
“All the players lent me support. I also received a lot of support on social media from my fans, well-wishers and the media. Very happy that they supported me even during a difficult time. If a player gets such motivation from his nation, the support helps a lot. After that, I went to Bangladesh and got a five-for in the first game itself. The Man of the Match goes to the people who were supporting me.”