ISLAMABAD - Right-arm off spinner Arsal Shaikh has vowed to fill the void left by magician Saeed Ajmal, if the selectors provide him with an opportunity in the World Cup.

Talking to The Nation, Arsal, who has unique record of hammering hat-trick against the Australian Under-19 team in UAE, said: “It is highly unfortunate that people, who don’t know the ABC of cricket, start criticising just because I am son of Shakil Shaikh. They never realise that I didn’t get things in plate rather I have struggled hard, spent 10 hours daily in the nets and gym and sacrificed a number of things to fulfill my passion of playing cricket for Pakistan.”

He said the tag of Shakil Shaikh’s son always put extra pressure on him but he always took it as motivation. “I always prefer to reply the critics through my performances. I feel proud to be son of Shakil Shaikh, who has been serving Pakistan cricket for decades and doing all this just for the sake of cricketers, not for personal glory. He always told us to be humble and not to pay attention towards negativity and silence your critics through your performances.

“Whenever I was given opportunity to bowl, I had always delivered for Pakistan U-19, regions or departments. I am working very hard in the nets to improve my bowling. I was never reported for suspected action, as I have examples of Saeed Ajmal and Muhammad Hafeez. If given with an opportunity to serve the country, I am always ready to deliver,” he added.

Arsal said that it hurt a lot when despite working so hard and practising for hours, he was not given the opportunity to bowl but he never took it negatively. “I know English pitches are suitable for spinners and white balls always help off spinners. Pakistan team badly need a specialist spinner alongside Shadab Khan. Yasir Shah is also a strong contender, but both are leg spinners, while M Hafeez, Shoaib Malik and Imad Wasim are all-rounders.

“World is facing acute shortage of off spinners and if there are a few, who are not getting chances. It is a huge injustice to the art of off-spin bowling, which has witnessed the greats like Muttiah Muralitharan, Saqlain Mushtaq, Saeed Ajmal and others. My job is to keep on improving and delivering and leave the rest on the selectors,” he added.

He said one thing is crystal clear that if provided with an opportunity to represent the national team, he won’t let down the country and team and will do his best to help the team register crucial victories. “I have taken man-of-the-match awards just because of my bowling. If I am not provided chances to bowl during pressure situations, how I can improve. The coaches must understand that unless they provide chances to youngsters like me, they can’t get future stars.

“I know justice will prevail some day. Had my father used his good offices, I would have been playing national team. But I have earned the place in the domestic teams through my performances and I am quite sure that I will get call for national team soon,” Arsal concluded.