Hasan Ali looked on song against Zimbabwe and seems to be quickly getting his old bowling rhythm back. He picked nine wickets in a lop-sided affair against the hosts, taking the wind out of Zimbabwe's sails and playing a pivotal role in registering a thumping innings victory.
Hasan Ali stayed put and fought through nagging injuries, misdiagnoses from PCB's medical department, never-ending rehabs and the tough mental battles to finally earn a call-up to the national team. The 26-year-old made an impression straight away after returning to national colours and picked a ten-wicket haul against South Africa in Rawalpindi that helped Pakistan pull off a series win after 17 years.
Hasan got surgeries, went through a long rehabilitation process, had problems with his back, ribs and groin but his strong willpower and unwavering firmness of character didn't let him get lost in the maze of Pakistan domestic cricket.
It was 2020–21 Quaid-e-Azam Trophy season that brought Hasan back on the selectors' radar as his all-round performances couldn't be ignored anymore. He spearheaded Central Punjab to the final of Pakistan's premier domestic cricket competition. Hasan struck a match-winning century and took five wickets and was deservingly awarded the Player of the Series accolade for taking 43 wickets at a stupendous average of 20.06.
It is nothing short of a surprise to regain fitness and recover from gruelling injuries in Pakistan because we have seen many pacers such as Junaid Khan, Rumman Raees and Mohammad Abbas losing their mojo with the ball when they got hit by injury and not everybody gets to wear the green shirt once hit by injury woes. Recovery can be arduous and there is not always ample assistance and guidance available to get back on the field with the same efficacy.
Unlike most of the fast bowlers today, Hasan Ali gives precedence to Test cricket and relishes the format thoroughly. He mentioned at the end of the South Africa Test series in Pakistan what Test cricket means to him and how he always dreamt of playing the longer format.
The former No.1 ranked ODI bowler, who was the main architect behind Pakistan's historic 2017 Champions Trophy triumph, is quickly emerging as the leader of the pace battery and the Pakistan think-tank couldn't be happier to see Hasan gaining confidence after each game.
The likes of Shaheen Afridi and Faheem Ashraf have occasionally been guilty of leaking runs at crucial junctures of a game in the shorter format but the presence of a protege in the shape of Hasan harbingers a balanced bowling attack as with the presence of tearaway young quicks, a relatively seasoned paceman can step up on big moments and get Pakistan over the line.
Hasan has shown tenacity, hunger and perseverance by getting his swing, pace, and his old self back. It is heartening to see the trademark 'Generatator' celebration galvanizing the fans and the wiry bowler is, once again, registering match-winning performances for Pakistan.
After Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis and Shoaib Akhtar, many bowlers have come and withered away into oblivion. With this tumultuous baggage, it becomes all the more important for Hasan to continue the good work, prioritize red-ball-cricket and prove his longevity in the years to come.
For the team management, it is important not to burn out Hasan Ali again and overuse him across all formats of the game. Therefore the workload management is of critical importance. It would be a cardinal sin to mismanage the fast bowling asset again and destabilize the bowling attack.