LAHORE: Pakistan star pacer Hasan Ali celebrates his birthday on Friday (today). He turns 27. Born on 2nd July 1994, wily, skiddy fast bowler Hasan doesn’t fit the template of the Pakistan quick bowler — no express pace, no reverse swing — but he has plenty of variations under his belt. He made his first-class debut at the age of 19 and was impressive against Lahore Ravi with a four-wicket haul in the first innings. His career started with club cricket and he rose up to the regional Under-16 level but he did not make youth squads at national level. However, he managed to gain some attention in the 2015 National T20 Cup where he picked up eight wickets in four matches under the captaincy of Shoaib Malik. His 17 wickets at 17.05 in the National One-day Cup in 2016 helped him being promoted to the Pakistan side. He made his international debut in 2016, taking two five-fers in his first 15 ODIs. He would go on to beat Waqar Younis as the fastest to 50 ODI wickets for Pakistan, but Hasan’s moment really arrived at the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy. He began by leaking 70 runs in his 10 overs in the first game, against India, but bounced back with three-wicket hauls against South Africa, Sri Lanka, and against title favourites England in the semi-final. In the final, against archrivals India, Ali took 3 for 19, becoming the player of the tournament with 13 wickets at an average of 14.69. Hasan’s ability to strike regular middle-overs blows was a key factor in Pakistan lifting their first global ODI trophy since the 1992 World Cup, and his Player-of-the-Tournament award richly deserved. And, three months later, he was the ICC’s No. 1 ranked ODI bowler. But his numbers dipped sharply in 2019, partly due a back injury that wasn’t diagnosed correctly, and he was left out of PCB’s central contracts list in 2020. But Hasan has made a remarkable comeback in the national side since returning from back injury which ruled the fast bowler for good two years from 2019 to 2020. The right-arm fast bowler before returning to the national team featured in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy 2020-21 season, where he played a pivotal role in Central Punjab qualifying for the final. The final between Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Central Punjab was tied not before Hasan playing an all-round performance in the big game. Hasan not only took five wickets in the final, but scored an unbeaten 106 off 61 balls in the second innings. He ended-up taking 43 wickets from nine matches at 20.07, and scored 273 runs at 24.82, with two half-centuries and one century in the tournament. The gigantic performance helped him return for Pakistan colours in the two-Test match series against South Africa in January/February played in Karachi and Rawalpindi. Pakistan won the series 2-0 and lifted them to the fifth spot in the ICC Test rankings. Hasan took 12 wickets in the series, which included 10 wickets in the Rawalpindi Test, where he took five-fer in each innings. Hasan till date has played 11 international matches this year where he has taken 40 wickets with four five wickets in an innings and one ten-wicket haul in a match. He is also the top wicket-taker in this year with India’s Ravichandran Ashwin on second spot with 38 wickets. Hasan’s fast bowling pair Shaheen Shah Afridi is on the fifth position with 30 wickets from 15 matches. His infectious energy and undying fighting spirit is always praised immensely by the cricketing experts. Pakistan, thus, continues its tradition of producing world class fast bowlers!