KARACHI : Pakistan opening batsman Fakhar Zaman has stated that he loves playing under the captaincy of Sarfraz Ahmed despite getting a lot of stick from him.
Speaking in an interview with Daily Express, Zaman said he knows Sarfraz better than most players because of playing alongside him in Karachi for a significant period of time.
“I know Sarfraz better than other players because of the time we spent playing together in Karachi,” he said. “Despite being good friends [off the pitch], I get a lot of stick from him but I laugh when he scolds me which makes him scold me even more. Having said that, I really enjoy playing under his captaincy.”
Zaman, who has been commonly associated with the epithet ‘Fakhar-e-Pakistan’ due to his great run of form in the recent past, said he is glad to get so much love from fans while adding that it is an honour to represent the Men in Green.
“It is an honour to represent Pakistan and becoming increasingly associated with the epithet ‘Fakhar-e-Pakistan’ feels really nice,” he said. “It brings great satisfaction when we are praised for our performances.”
After becoming the first Pakistan player to score a double century in ODIs, the comparisons with former Pakistan opening batsman Saeed Anwar have grown stronger but Zaman feels it is too early to make such an association.
“I’m not too sure about the comparisons with Saeed bhai because he was a great player,” he said. “It is going to take me some time to match his level but I will try my best to do so.”
Zaman scored 515 runs in the five-match ODI series against Zimbabwe and bagged the award for player of the series and the left-hander revealed the only thing on his mind was to bat for as long as possible once he got his eye in.
“I had not specifically planned about scoring a lot of runs but it was on my mind that I need to make the most of the opportunity once I got settled down,” he said. “The discussion with the team management was also of similar nature as they wanted me bat beyond the powerplay overs.”
Despite breaking numerous records during the recently concluded Zimbabwe tour, Zaman is not too particular about them and keeps his focus on one match at a time.
“I don’t have any specific milestone in my mind as I look to focus on one match at a time and perform to the best of my ability,” he said.
Zaman also said that he is keen on becoming a regular in the five-day format as well.
“I’m hopeful that I will be able to cement my place in the side in red-ball cricket in the same way as I have in the shorter formats,” he said. “Playing in the longer version of the game is different as you have to be a bit cautious in your approach. I will try to use my first-class cricket experience and bat according to the situation.”
The 28-year-old also praised the role played by the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in his career development. “I think the NCA plays an important part in a player’s progress because there are many qualified coaches who help develop our skills and abilities,” he said. “I believe that coaches at the NCA are better than the coaches available elsewhere in the world.”
Zaman also hailed the Pakistan Super League (PSL) and his franchise Lahore Qalandars. “PSL and Lahore Qalandars have also played a significant role in helping me become a better cricketer as I got the chance to play alongside international cricketers and under high pressure situations.”
There are chances that Zaman will be handed the captaincy reins for the next edition of PSL, but the opening batsman said he is not aware of any such development. “I’m not aware of that,” he said. “I don’t have experience of captaincy at this level but I have led the side in the Pakistan Cup — where we reached the final.”