At a time when Pakistan is despondent over the loss of Sharjeel Khan, another dashing left-hand batsman, Fakhar Zaman, is making his presence felt, scoring a solid 36-ball 56 in Lahore Qalandars’ hard-fought seven-run win over Karachi Kings in Sharjah on Thursday.
The 26 year old, Pakistan Navy trained, is fondly called “Soldier” by his teammates, and has been scoring runs in every domestic tournament. Just like Sharjeel, the Pakistan Super League (PSL) is likely to elevate this youngster to international ranks.
Sharjeel’s loss could be Zaman’s gain, just like Junaid Khan benefitted when Mohammad Amir was banned for five years after the spot-fixing scandal in 2010.
Last week, Sharjeel was provisionally suspended after breaching the Pakistan Cricket Board’s anti-corruption code by meeting a suspicious man linked to an international betting syndicate.
Khalid Latif was also suspended for the same offence.
“My job is to score runs and I am doing that, so I know that hard work will pay off and I will be included in the Pakistan team sooner than later,” said Zaman after his man-of-the-match performance.
He smashed three powerful sixes and five well-timed fours to lift his team to 179 for 8 in 20 overs.
“It is my wish to play for Pakistan, like every youngster playing at domestic level has, so I am doing the hard work,” said Zaman. “I hope that PSL will bring that good news for me.”
Zaman is on the selectors’ radar for the tour of West Indies which commences after the PSL, more so because Sharjeel faces a lengthy ban.
Zaman stroked a masterful 170 in the final of the Quaid-e-Azam trophy final in Karachi last year. He was the second-highest run-getter behind Ahmed Shahzad, with 297, in the Pakistan Cup one-day tournament last year.
He also had success against England Lions in the series in the UAE, and made a wonderful 180 in an unofficial one-day match for Pakistan A on the tour of Zimbabwe last year.
“I have benefitted from A team tours because when you go abroad and score runs. it’s different from what you do at domestic level,” said Zaman. “I am waiting for the call for national duty.”