DUBAI: Pakistan opener Fakhar Zaman has showed optimism ahead of the high profile clash against arch-rivals India during the upcoming Asia Cup in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
The left-handed batsman scored a swash-buckling century in his only outing, so far, against the Men in Blue during the 2017 Champions Trophy Final to lay the platform for a memorable victory.
This will be the first time since that finale when both teams will meet in any international match, and Zaman believes the team which will control its nerves better will stay in the ascendency in the high-pressure encounter.
“Every international match has its own pressure but match against India is a different ball-game altogether,” said Zaman while talking to the media at Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore on Wednesday. “I believe the team which control nerves better will win the contest.”
Zaman has been the highest run scorer for Pakistan with 1065 runs in ODI cricket since making his debut against South Africa during the ICC Champions Trophy in 2017 while also holding the record for most sixes (18), fours (129) and the most fifty plus scores (9) during the same span of time.
He is also currently the highest run-scorer for Pakistan in 2018 so far with 665 runs in just nine matches at a staggering average of 133. On a global scale, for openers who have played at least ten ODI matches, Zaman’s average of 76.07 is the highest among all since he made his debut which speaks volumes about his consistency.
In the UAE, Zaman has a slightly disappointing record where he average 29.60 with strike-rate of 84.57 in five innings. But the Mardan-born opener is keen on extending his purple patch to the Asia Cup by utilising his experience of playing in acclimatised conditions.
“We will have a slight advantage over our opposition because UAE is like a home ground to us as we have ample experience of playing cricket there,” he said.
According to CricViz, Fakhar Zaman has the highest average batting match impact in ODIs since the 2015 World Cup. He scores 23 more runs per match than the average ODI batsman batting in the same situation. Zaman scored 515 runs in the ODI series against Zimbabwe which helped him gain a total of 22 places to move into 16th position in the ICC ODI rankings for batsmen.