Middle-order batsman Asad Shafiq, Pakistan’s most prolific willow wielder at number six in Tests, has revealed that his batting inspiration came after watching former captain Mohammad Yousuf.
"I watched Mohammad Yousuf when he scored 1,000 runs and broke the world record for number of centuries in a calendar year," said Shafiq. "The way he was playing, especially in that year, it was amazing and I just can't forget his drives and his cuts. I really liked him after that."
The 13th ranked Test batsman in the world, Shafiq doesn’t like limelight and wants to take his career forward without expressing himself as a celebrity.
"I'm not that person that I want to really go out and express myself as a celebrity," he said. "I just want to do things very simply and very quietly."
Shafiq’s cricket career, like many other Pakistani players, started from the streets of Karachi where he played tape-ball cricket.
"I started playing with the big boys in the ground," told Shafiq. “And then I found the love of cricket inside me. The love took me to my first trial of hard-ball cricket at the Under-19 regional academy in Karachi. That's how I found the love for the game and the start of my career."
The 30-year-old considered to have the best technique among Pakistani batsmen believes he still has a lot to improve.
"I'm always thinking about my batting and my front foot and my back foot and I always like to talk about it with Grant Flower, our batting coach," said Shafiq. "I discuss with him what I should do to get it better every time. What to do and what not to do. I want to sit with him and talk about my batting, about my stance, about my grip, about my head position."
With Younus Khan and Misbahul Haq holding the middle-order positions above him, Shafiq has to bat down the order, most of the times with the tail, but he thinks it does not stop him from giving his best.
"That was the team requirement, so whatever the team wants me to do, whatever role they want me to play, I really take it as a responsibility," Shafiq says. "I want to do more with my batting at number six. It was difficult in the beginning because I'd never batted with the tail. It's very difficult; you have to give confidence to the tail, to the bowler who cannot bat like a batsman. You have to give them the belief that they can bat, that they can contribute because these contributions are the most hurtful to the opposition. They think they've got all the batsmen out and after that, if the partnership builds between me and a tail-ender, that's the most frustrating thing for the opposition."
The right-hand batsman, who has eight tons and 14 half-centuries to his name in 43 Tests with an average of 43.15, believes the star on his chest beckons him to present himself in the best possible manner he can when he travels the world.
"When you go on any tour with the star on your chest, then it is your responsibility to take all of the things that belong to your country and my belief is: I shouldn't do anything that would hurt my people back home or would reflect anything negative on my country. That's a personal thing,” he concluded.
Asad Shafiq was interviewed by ESPNcricinfo
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