Ahmed Shehzad lit the world on fire in the early stages of his career. He scored 6 ODI centuries in not much time and and till date has an average of above 40 in Test cricket. In fact, such was his consistency in the early part of the decade just gone by, that there were comparisons with Virat Kohli. Of course the similar face cut and beard style also helped in the comparison.
However, since 2015 his form dipped and he was eventually dropped from the national team in 2017. That remains the last time he played a Test Match and ODI. He did make a brief comeback in the T20 series at home against Sri Lanka in 2019, but was dropped immediately after that. In a recent interaction with a website, Shehzad opened up on his struggles and the pressure of comparisons with the likes of Virat Kohli.
The opener who is till date the only Pakistani to have scored a century in all 3 formats in International cricket, stressed in the lack of support he got from the team management and that insecurity as far as a place in the team is concerned, rarely allows the player to bring out his best.
“Of course, there is pressure due to comparisons [with Kohli]. We tend to compare two players without focussing on their respective backgrounds. For any player to succeed, it requires the backing of the coach, captain and cricket board. In short, he or she needs confidence in order to do well,” Shehzad said while speaking to Cricingif.
“Unless and until a player is given required support and a longer rope, his or her confidence won’t increase. Then, they tend to fight for survival. If you look at the backgrounds of Virat, Rohit Sharma, Joe Root, Kane Williamson and Babar Azam, they have been really lucky as well. Kohli had revealed that he was going to be dropped from plenty of series but MS Dhoni backed him. Same was the case with Rohit Sharma. Thus, faith was instilled upon them by Dhoni,” he added.