Two fivefors, 5/27 vs Qatar followed by 5/22 against Malaysia, a fourfor 4/13 vs Denmark and a twofor 2/15 from facing Singapore, those were Kaleem Sana’s overly impressive wicket-taking returns from his four matches played for Canada during the recently concluded ICC Challenge League A Third-Round tournament. Sana’s returns catapulted him to the very top of the leaderboard as the tournament’s highest wicket taker. His 16 wickets captured was some distance ahead of his nearest rival host country Malaysia’s Sharvin Muniandy who finished with 10 victims from 4 matches played.
Malaysia may have been a coming of age for Sana as the newly established leader of the Canadian bowling attack. Born January 1, 1994, in Rawalpindi Pakistan, the soon to be twenty-nine-year old Rana made his first-class debut as a fifteen year old appearing for the Custom’s team in the 2008–09 Quaid-e-Azam Trophy on 9 January 2009. He made his List A debut for Rawalpindi Rams in the 2011–12 National One Day Championship on 12 March 2012.
In October 2021, Sana was named in Canada’s Twenty20 International (T20I) squad for the 2021 ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Americas Qualifier tournament in Antigua. In February 2022, he was named in Canada’s T20I squad for the 2022 ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Global Qualifier A tournament in Oman. He made his T20I debut on 18 February 2022, for Canada against the Philippines.
Since making his debut Rana had appeared in 11 T20I, 4 First Class, 16 List A and 11 T20 matches in Canadian colours. All told he has far captured 60 wickets at a cost of 1173 runs for a cumulative average of just 19.55. Extremely impressive returns for a left-arm seamer.
As illustrated by his tournament figures, Rana was at times almost unplayable in Malaysia. Repeatedly scything through opposition batting like a hot knife on butter. Lower-order batsmen provide to be particularly vulnerable to his movement both in the air and off the pitch, He was very effectively used by Canadian captain Saad Bin Zafar as the team’s death bowler, stifling run chases by either his economically bowled overs or even more importantly wicket-taking deliveries.
As it heads to Namibia next March for the next phase of the 2023 50Over World Cup qualification process, the Canadian team will be hoping that Sana can be just as much of a nuisance to opposition batsmen there as he was a menace in Malaysia.