Rao Iftikhar Anjum is another addition to Pakistan's seemingly endless production line of pace bowlers. Iftikhar, however, is more Aaqib Javed than Wasim Akram or Waqar Younis, and his outswinger is considered by many to be as effective as Aaqib's. He can bowl reverse-swing - a prerequisite for Pakistani bowlers, when the ball gets a bit rougher, with good control over his yorkers. Iftikhar has performed consistently well in the domestic circuit since making his debut three years ago, taking over 200 wickets on the generally lifeless pitches of Pakistan. It was his stellar performances in the current domestic season that brought him to national attention. Iftikhar led his team - the Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited - to victory in the Patron's Trophy final against WAPDA, taking seven wickets in the first innings and ending with ten in the match. Not surprisingly, he was included in Pakistan's one-day squad for the series against India in 2004, before making his debut in the Paktel Cup seven moths later. He has since proved himself adept as a back-up bowler. But continuing injuries to Pakistan's frontline pacers means he remains perenially in the picture and he was rewarded with a Test debut against Sri Lanka in April 2006. Though he was expensive and wicketless, he would have been satisfied with a winning debut. With three of Pakistan's leading fast bowlers missing from the England series that summer, he was called up for the Tests but the unfortunate death of his father meant a return home and missing out on the Test series. And due to the regular injuries suffered by Pakistan's plethora of fast bowlers, he remains a permanent part of Pakistan's wider plans. He was part of the squad for the ICC World Twenty20 as well as the home series against South Africa that followed.
Osman Samiuddin October 2007