Opener Asad Wala, who is set to lead Papua New Guinea (PNG), playing in the T20 World Cup for the first time, has said that many Indian star cricketers were his idols when he was growing up, including batting great Sachin Tendulkar. Huh. Asad wants him to bring Tendulkar-like patience on the field.
Assad has been instrumental in getting PNG a place in the T20 World Cup starting October 17 in the UAE and Oman. He was the top scorer for his team in the qualifiers with 197 runs from eight matches.
During an online conversation organized by the International Cricket Council, 34-year-old Asad said, “When I was growing up, everyone knows that Sachin Tendulkar was the only cricketer the whole world knew. Tendulkar and maybe Brian Lara. I just wanted to see him bat and see myself as a batsman.
Asked what qualities of Tendulkar he would like to imbibe, Asad said, “I think I want patience like him.”
Asad cited the example of Tendulkar’s double century in Sydney in the 2003-04 series when the legendary batsman scored an unbeaten 241 after failing in the first three Tests.
He said, “There was a series in Australia where he got out four or five times for taking the edge of the ball before scoring a double century. He was mentally strong and he planned brilliantly for the double century where he only played straight and on-side shots like I had never seen before. All the runs were scored on the leg side and playing straight shots.
Asad, a left-handed batsman and off-spin bowler, has played 35 ODIs and 28 T20Is. He also likes all-rounder Yuvraj Singh and former Indian captain and current chairman of the Board of Control for Cricket in India Sourav Ganguly.
Asad said, “I am also inspired by Yuvraj Singh because I am also a left-handed batsman, I like to watch Yuvraj Singh play, left-handed artistic batsman Sourav Ganguly too.”
“Apart from the Indian team, I also love watching Lara, Kumar Sangakkara and Matthew Hayden bat.”
The way Yuvraj hit six sixes in an over on England pacer Stuart Broad in the first T20 World Cup in South Africa, Assad wants to do the same but his priority is to contribute for the team.
Papua New Guinea will take on hosts Oman at the Oman Cricket Academy on the first day of the T20 World Cup.