In early 2000, Pakistan had one of the most devastating bowling units by its own standards with the likes of Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, Shoaib Akhtar and Saqlain Mushtaq dealing the opposition team a psychological blow even before the games had commenced. With such a serious pace battery at the helm, few would have bet on another Pakistani bowler breaking through the ranks let alone staking a claiming in the side.
But when young Mohammad Sami burst on the scene with eight wickets on Test debut against New Zealand in 2001, it seemed that another pace sensation had announced his arrival on the big stage. The Karachi lad with his short run up and quick arm action was able to generate such sheer pace that he once clocked 164 kph on an unofficial speedometer. In only his third Test, he claimed a hat-trick and went on to repeat the feat against the West Indies in an ODI. His excellent performances against Zimbabwe and New Zealand earned him a place in Pakistan’s 2003 World Cup squad and despite not playing for a major part of the tournament went on to have a fine 2003 season.
With the retirements of Akram and Waqar, the pacer found himself spearheading the attack, a title which made him uneasy. The pressure of performances got to him and despite being given numerous opportunities Sami continued to remain a pale shadow of his former self. Finally, in 2007 he was booted from the side after joining the rebel league but made a one-off appearance in a Test against Australia in 2010 and also replaced an injured Umar Gul in the 2010 World Twenty20 but failed to make an impact. The speedster returned to full-fledged action in 2012 in the series against Sri Lanka, after what was a long layoff from international cricket.