ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan paceman has been rewarded for an impressive breakthrough year in which he finished as the leading wicket-taker at the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy.
Hasan Ali’s career sky-rocketed in 2017, as he went from a near-unknown to one of the world’s best performers in just 12 months.
Although the 23-year-old made his ODI and T20I debuts in 2016, it was last year when he really came to worldwide attention. Pakistan’s victory at the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy propelled Hasan into millions of living rooms – and he grabbed the opportunity with both hands. He took 13 wickets in the tournament as Pakistan triumphed over India in the final, earning the Player of the Series award in the process.
Hasan’s game-awareness, variety and clever changes of pace bamboozled batsmen during the tournament. Despite playing in unfamiliar English conditions, he took four more wickets than any other bowler at an average of just 14.69 and an unsurpassed economy rate of 4.29.
Since those headline-grabbing feats, Hasan has shown that he is far more than a one-tournament-wonder. He sustained his brilliance, claiming 45 wickets in 18 ODIs across 2017 at an average of 17.04. He took five-wicket hauls against Australia, West Indies and Sri Lanka and by November he had become the quickest Pakistan player to reach 50 ODI wickets, in just 24 matches.
He has proved particularly venomous with the bouncer, picking up nine wickets with the delivery last year – more than any other in the 50-over format.
Hasan finished the year as the number one-ranked bowler in the ICC ODI bowling rankings. His startling progress is shown by the fact that he began 2017 in 75th place. He took 426 days to reach the No. 1 ranking a feat bettered by just two others.
Hasan has also been effective in his fledgling Test career, taking six wickets in two matches so far at an average of 27.33, and he showed his prowess in the shortest format by claiming the Player of the Match award in a T20I against West Indies last April after returning figures of 2/12 from his four overs
If the previous winners of the ICC Emerging Cricketer of the Year award are anything to go by, then he is certainly on the right path. Australian fast bowler Josh Hazlewood and Bangladesh left-arm seamer Mustafizur Rahman won it in 2015 and 2016 respectively and have continued to make their mark at the highest level.
Other bowlers who have won the award in recent years include West Indian spinners Sunil Narine and Devendra Bishoo, England seamer Steven Finn and Australia paceman Peter Siddle.
Hasan held off some stiff competition to claim this year’s award, up against the likes of his teammate Shadab Khan, India spinner Kuldeep Yadav, West Indies quick Alzarri Joseph and Australian duo Peter Handscomb and Matt Renshaw. All had standout years, but what set Hasan apart was his consistency and performances on the biggest stage at the ICC Champions Trophy.