KARACHI: Although it was Hasan Ali who remained the star performer for Pakistan in the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 with the ball, and Player of the Tournament as well, but young opening batsman Fakhar Zaman changed the course of his team’s batting approach with his aggressive style as soon as he made his one-day international (ODI) debut against the Proteas.
Zaman scored a quick-fire 31 off 23 balls against South Africa on his debut, followed by back to back fifties against Sri Lanka (50 off 36) and England (57 off 58).
The left-handed batsman, who missed the first game against India and scored his maiden ODI hundred (114 off 106) against the same opposition in the final, has opened up on how Virat Kohli and Jasprit Bumrah sledged him and his opening partner Azhar Ali in the championship finale.
Fakhar Zaman was quoted by First Post as saying, “There was a lot of chatter when Azhar Ali and I were at the crease. Virat was constantly saying, ‘Arre, ek wicket nikal jayega toh yeh saare out ho jaayenge. Bas ek ko nikaalo jaldi. (If we get one wicket, the rest will collapse).’
“Bumrah had me caught behind, but it was off a no ball. So, he was also very vocal. On one occasion, he said, ‘Thoda saamne bhi run banaa le. Kab tak aise khelega? (Make some runs in front of the wicket. How long are you going to play like this?)’
“But to be honest, the Indian players didn’t cross any line. Actually, that was purely cricket-related and positive sledging, which is fine. Everyone wants to see his team win and they do their best to achieve that.”