Pakistan batting hero Fakhar Zaman has hailed senior player and all-rounder Shoaib Malik for infusing the ‘new life’ while lifting his national team’s spirit with an inspirational speech to his teammates during the team meeting soon after Sarfraz Ahmed-led side received 124-run drubbing against India at Edgbaston, in their tournament opener of the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy on June 4.
“After that defeat against India, we had a long meeting to discuss about the rest of the games. Shoaib Malik said things that breathed new life into our time,” Zaman was quoted as saying by The Express Tribune.
After Pakistan players get a hero’s welcome at the Karachi Airport and Lahore respectively, the left-handed batsman Zaman, who smashed maiden century revealed the meeting was called to look where the things went wrong while reaching Peshawar on Tuesday.
“It was in that meeting where the seniors, the captain [Sarfraz Ahmed and the coach [Mickey Arthur] decided that we will play the rest of the tournament in a different manner,” delighted Zaman told the media in Pakistan.
Optimistic Zaman reiterated team was focused on giving hundred per cent and the players regrouped – to give their best as a unit in order to bring back smiles on the faces of people back home by taking the coveted trophy home.
“It’s really pleasing to win the trophy.” Zaman added.
The 27-year-old Zaman has played a significant role for the national team to claim their first-ever ICC Champions Trophy at The Oval in London after drubbing India by 180 runs in the grand finale of the eighth edition in front of the jam-packed stadium.
Zaman, who was the top-scorer for his team and overall on the sixth position in the tournament has smashed two consecutive fifties after scoring brisk 31 against South Africa, as he has had amassed 252 in four matches at an average of 63.
Zaman, who has played a pivotal role for the side, has scored at the strike-rate of 113 which further saw him giving two consecutive hundred-run stands alongside Azhar Ali in the final and semi-final respectively,
Zaman, who a day before the match, further stated the team had planned to give the die-hard fans an Eid gift ahead of the final clash against arch-rivals India.
“The day before the final we were all thinking about giving an Eid present to our nation by winning,” Zaman revealed.
Interestingly, touted as a new star in the colours for Pakistan, Zaman stated he was happy to score against the ace off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin adding he has enjoyed his natural game after getting a life owing to the front foot no-ball when he was batting at three in the all-important final.
“It’s always pleasing to score against a world-class bowler, so it really felt nice when I was hitting boundaries on Ashwin’s bowling,” Zaman concluded.
The Mardan-born Zaman, who has also credited his success to Pakistan Premier League franchise Lahore Qalandars’ skipper Brendon McCullum for backing his aggressive and natural game plan.
Zaman has also featured in three Twnety20 Internationals for Pakistan after playing 52 List A matches while scoring 2,523 runs at an average of 51.48. He has also featured in 35 first-class games in which he has amassed 2,269 runs at an average of 42.01.