Temperament is not a word often associated with us Pakistanis. We like whatever excites us the most. In other words, passion is what drives us and adrenaline is what keeps us alive. There is never a dull moment in the life of a Pakistani. I guess that’s just how it is.

But sometimes (almost every time) all this “thinking from the heart” culture can lead to dire consequences. If we are ready to accept the fact that this “culture” affects our lives in one way or the other, how can we not believe that this same “culture” seeps into our sports, namely cricket, and affects the minds of the upcoming generations?

This is the same reason why our generation of cricketers have always followed the so called “mega stars” like Shahid Khan Afridi and Imran Nazir and whilst the two have great contributions to Pakistani cricket, upcoming cricketers seemed to have ignored the real role models like Mohammad Yousuf and Younis Khan. This is, in fact, the main reason for cricket’s decline in our beloved country.

It is a known fact that players who have followed the footsteps of the greats of their times have ended up becoming legends of modern day cricket themselves. I personally believe that it is easier to find the next Afridi than it is to look out for the next Saeed Anwar or the next Inzimam for that matter. But luckily, Pakistan might just have had their prayers answered in the shape of upcoming young opening batsman, Sami Aslam .

At only a tender age of 20, the lad from Lahore has already proved that he is more than capable of taking the responsibility of opening the innings and anchoring his side to victories with match altering knocks. After having just played a couple of tests against England in almost alien conditions, Sami Aslam has already caught the eyes of cricket experts and commentators from around the world.

But most importantly, his defensive approach, positive attitude, strong temperament and the ability to play the ball late has made him rise up the pecking order and one would think he would open ahead of the likes of Shan Masood and Mohammad Hafeez in the test matches to come.

It was not just his stroke play that caught the eye but what impressed most was his calmness on the pitch, something that is very rare to find these days amongst young batsmen. His resilient approach stood out from the pack as he would, almost every time, carve out from difficult situations. Whilst the relatively experienced duo of Hafeez and Masood couldn’t handle the swing and bounce of the English pacemen, Sami taught them a valuable lesson; ‘stick to the crease and play every ball according to its merit’, that is exactly how conventional test cricket should be played.

His 170 odd runs at a healthy average of 46.00 in just two matches against a quality bowling attack is no co-incidence. Sami has been playing competitive cricket since he was 16 and within no time he became the all time leading run scorer at under-19 level; a record that speaks for itself. Apart from that, he has six centuries to his name at an exceptional average of 49.97 in List A cricket. All of these are not just boring old stats but numbers to ponder upon.

We should value the words of the greats of world cricket who were quick to notice this unearthed talent. Shane Warne, Geoffrey Boycott, Mike Atherton, Wasim Akram and various others have heaped loads of praises on the 20 year old, something that should be enough for Pakistan’s chief selector, Inzimam Ul Haq, to give him a go continuously, for at least the next two years.

The PCB should take notice of the fact that countless talents like Sami Aslam still exist in the U-19 circuit and history shows us that many great players from the past have represented Pakistan at the U-19 world cups. So there is no doubt that the talent is there but the problem is that not only is it being ignored time and again but many a players are being wasted mainly due to lack of facilities and shortage of funds.