Mohammed Haris has provided the breath of fresh air that has sparked Pakistan’s resurgence in the T20 World Cup.
That was the view of Matthew Hayden, the Pakistan batting consultant, ahead of the semi-final with New Zealand in Sydney.
The 21-year-old batter was only called into Pakistan’s squad midway through the group stage after Fakhar Zaman had to be withdrawn due to injury.
He was parachuted straight into the starting XI for the must-win game against South Africa. Off just the second ball he faced, he was hit in the head by a bouncer.
After clearing the subsequent concussion check, his form has been transformative. He hit the next three balls he faced for six, six and four, on his way to 28 from 11 balls against the Proteas.
In the next match, amid the asphyxiating tension of a run chase against Bangladesh, he laced 31 from 18 balls.
“He's got a freshness,” Hayden said. “One of the things as an outsider coming into this tournament is pretty much the entire cricketing community is fatigued to some degree with the amount of programme.
“Match officials, support staff, players, playing 24/7 around the clock. That's the programme.
"So to have a young, fresh face with nothing to lose, nothing really to gain, but just play with great freedom, it's been a wonderful expression for him personally but also for team Pakistan.”
Hayden, the former Australia opener, praised the young batter for his capabilities against quick bowling.
“I've watched him closely over the last month,” Hayden said. “And he was the one individual that came into every net session and played all of our quicks.
“For me, that was like facing [Glenn] McGrath, [Shane] Warne, [Brett] Lee, [Jason] Gillespie.
"If you could face those bowlers, and you're playing well, you knew you had a great chance of making runs in the actual game.
“So it's no surprise to see how he came in and played so beautifully. He's got a very good technique on our fast bouncy wickets.”