One of a new generation of Pakistan fast bowlers, Mohammad Sami initially forced his way into the Test team with outstanding performances in domestic cricket and had an immediate impact in his first Test with five wickets against New Zealand. Then, in only his third Test, he notched a hat-trick, eking out the last three Sri Lankans in the Asian Test Championship final and he also has an ODI hat-trick. But since those early years, and especially after the World Cup 2003, when he was expected to become the Pakistan spearhead after the retirements of Wasim and Waqar, his story has been a fitful and thus far disappointing one.
Series after series has seen him disappoint as a stream of promising paceman have overtaken him, including the likes of Rana Naved-ul-Hasan, Umar Gul, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Aamer. For the most part Sami has been surprisingly ineffective and prone to leaking runs. So poor was his form after the India series in early 2006, he was finally dropped from the tour to Sri Lanka yet was lucky to be selected for the tour to England that summer, after a number of Pakistan's frontline bowlers were injured.
Nobody seems to be entirely sure where the problem lies either - he has been given the new-ball with license to attack, he has come on as first-change. He is fit - one of the fittest in the team - and athletic. From a shortish run-up and high action he generates surprising pace, settled in the mid-to-late eighties but with occasional forays into the nineties. He also quickly mastered traditional outswing and reverse-swing and bowls a mean yorker.
Sami put his future with Pakistan at risk by signing up for the unofficial Indian Cricket League (ICL), but was eventually welcomed back into the domestic fold when he severed ties. In late 2009, out of the blue, Sami was added to Pakistan's squad for their tour of Australia.