Nasir goes from brink to brim
Was it that the Pakistan opening batsmen made the difference in this series? India skipper MS Dhoni believes so. Pakistan skipper Misbah-ul Haq believes that as well as the brilliant starts by his fast bowlers.
The 23-year-old Nasir Jamshed, the Man-of-the-Match, will surely take much of the pie. He carried his bat through during a successful chase in Chennai, and on Thursday, his 141-run opening stand with Md Hafeez took the series away from India.
What it also did in the process was end Pakistan's search for a defining opening pair since the days of Saeed Anwar and Aamir Sohail. It also made up for banned skipper Salman Butt.Thursday was Jamshed's third consecutive century against India, the first having come in the 2012 Asia Cup in Dhaka. Pakistan lost that match despite a 224-run opening stand with Hafeez, where Jamshed (112) scored his highest.
That was his maiden ODI ton and it came just 10 days after Jamshed had left Dhaka after playing in the Bangladesh Premier League during which his passport was seized by the police and he was questioned for alleged links with bookies.
This was in March and his international career was under threat. Had the Pakistan Cricket Board taken a strong stand and left the left-hander out of the Asia Cup squad, things could have been different. That was not all.
In 2010, according to agency reports, Jamshed, then just 12 ODIs old, was arrested for cheating during a ninth-grade school English examination and then released on a surety of $235.
But he repaid the faith the board and his teammates showed in him. He focused on cricket, worked hard at the nets.
"Nasir has been around for a few years. He had some injury problem but he has worked hard to get himself fit. We are lucky to have him in the team," said former skipper Intikhab Alam.
Skipper Misbah was smiling ear to ear answering questions on Jamshed.
"In both the matches, the ball was doing a bit. But he showed great temperament."