On November 8, 2013, a young man: Sohaib Maqsood from Multan made his One Day International debut for Pakistan against South Africa. Sohaib Maqsood replaced Umar Amin in the fourth ODI. It was a proud day for him but his team started the 4th match with a deficit of 1-2 in the five-match series.
Sohaib’s impactful knocks in the debut series couldn’t save Pakistan from losing the ODI series by 4-1; however, Sohaib Maqsood was able to impress the selectors resulting in retaining his place in the squad.
The Downfall of the Rising Star
Sohaib Maqsood was considered for limited-overs cricket only. He was impressive at times; he scored a great knock of 89 against Sri Lanka in 2014. However, his performance started to go down as he was unable to score runs consistently.
He was selected in the 15 men squad for the 2015 Cricket World Cup, where Pakistan’s batting woes continued. Sohaib Maqsood scored 153 runs at an average of about 25 including a fifty. After the tournament, Sohaib Maqsood played one more ODI match against New Zealand where he scored a poor knock of 10 resulting in his exit from the ODI team.
Sohaib Maqsood’s T20I career isn’t impressive as well. His average in the shortest format is just 13 with the best of 37. The middle-order batsman did admit later that his downfall was his own doing. However, he was hopeful that he would play again after improving his fitness and game.
The next year: 2016 wasn’t too nice to Sohaib Maqsood either, he had a poor run at the International Cricket post World cup. Even in domestic cricket, he was struggling. For four years, Sohaib Maqsood was not on the headlines. He went back to the domestic circuit to make himself a better player. He took part in National T20 Cup, Pakistan Cup, and the Pakistan Super League from the day he was dropped. Sohaib Maqsood had a sea-saw career from 2016 to 2020. However, things started to change for him after 2020..
Pakistan Cup was where the table turned for him. The new format was announced for the List A tournament where five teams participated in the tournament.
The first two years for Sohaib Maqsood were not satisfactory. He averaged only 11.75 in the 2016 edition but did slightly better in the 2017 edition, where he averaged 33. However, those numbers and averages weren’t enough to convince the national selectors.
|Sohaib Maqsood’s record in Pakistan Cup – 2016 to 2020|
Sohaib Maqsood had an amazing Pakistan Cup in 2018 in which he scored 257 runs at an average of 86 with a strike rate of 149, but this performance could not impressive the selectors for picking him for the 2019 ICC World Cup. Later, his performance in the 2019 edition reflected his inconsistent track record over the years.
His good times started from the year 2020 where he picked up some groove and scored 455 runs at an average of 46 with a healthy strike rate of 128 including 2 centuries.
National T20 Cup
Sohaib Maqsood’s record in the National T20 Cup was not much different from his List A record. The inconsistency can be clearly seen in the table below. He had a poor 2016 edition and an amazing 2017 and 2018 edition where he averaged over 40 with a highly impressive strike rate followed by a poor 2019 edition.
Despite the roller coaster ride, cricket experts praised him for his strike rate and discussions started to occur about his comeback mainly due to failures of lower middle-order batsmen in the Pakistan national team.
|Sohaib Maqsood’s record in National T20 Cup – 2016 to 2020|
The year 2020 proved to be the turning point for him as he scored 393 runs at an average of 32, with a highly impressive strike rate of 168. Sohaib played tremendously well against Balochistan where he scored 81 from just 29 balls. That was the Fastest National T20 Cup Fifty, and that innings helped his team Southern Punjab to qualify for the knockout stage.
Pakistan Super League
PSL was introduced in 2016 and it proved to be a great platform for youngsters and unnoticed players to prove their worth by performing in front of an international audience. Sohaib Maqsood started his career from Lahore Qalandars where he was able to contribute in the first season but overall his performance in the first five seasons got worse as you can see in the table below.
|Sohaib Maqsood’s record in PSL – 2016 to 2021|
In the first five editions, he scored 403 runs at an average of just 17 with an embarrassing strike rate for hard-hitting batsmen like him. His best was yet to come and we all witnessed his brilliance in the most recent edition of the Pakistan Super League.
Sohaib Maqsood’s hard work could be seen evidently in his game as he scored match-winning runs for his team: Multan Sultans. He was named as the Player of the tournament along with the best batsmen award and the player of the final award.
An Impressive Return
The year 2020 was surely the turning point for Sohaib Maqsood, he is a completely different batsman now with a much more consistent record in 2021 and he has emerged as a mature and reliable middle-order batsman. The contrast in his performance can be seen before and after 2020 in the tables below:
|Sohaib Maqsood’s performance breakdown by years (List A)|
|Sohaib Maqsood’s performance breakdown by years (T20s)|
Many people were expecting PCB to select Sohaib Maqsood for the England and West Indies tour after watching his brilliant form in PSL 2021. Sohaib Maqsood’s hard work paid off when Haider Ali was suspended from participating in PSL Final and traveling with the team to England for violating the bio-secure bubble. This event earned Maqsood a national team call for T20Is.
We wish Sohaib Maqsood all the best for the upcoming T20Is series against England and West Indies.