‘Do you think Babar or Rizwan can hit the spinners better than me? No’ Fakhar Zaman explains why he doesn’t open in T20s
It was a question purportedly asked to boost his case to be the opener in Pakistan’s T20 team as well, but Fakhar Zaman gave a rather interesting twist in the answer.
The question can be summed up thus: ‘You have 5 hundreds as ODI opener, but are being sent at No.3 at T20’s. Shouldn’t you be used as opener’. Zaman first corrected the questioner saying “you have been sent wrong data; I have couple of fifties in T20s also”. Then came the Zaman-style twist.
“You had told me not to be diplomatic, I am never diplomatic, if you think that, it’s different thing,” he was just warming up.
“Look at the team situation … what do you think? Babar or Rizwan can hit the spinners better or me? I think it’s me. The team’s combination demands that a left-hander is needed in the middle. In fact, two of them. The way Babar and Rizwan are performing, no one fits as opener.”
Watching this clip at the Samaa TV was former Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi who said, “I have said before that if Fakhar Zaman has to play T20, then it should be as an opener. But Babar and Rizwan are the ones taking care of the team. If Babar doesn’t, then Rizwan does. And as Fakhar said, if he can play in the middle order, he can hit the spinners and the pacers. Babar and Rizwan have proved as T20 openers. Bechare aur kya kar sakte hain (what else can they do?).
Looking ahead at the 50-over ODI world cup in India, Afridi said that Pakistan “needs more spinners in India. We need strong spinners. There will be more changes in the team. I think Iftikhar can come in, Abrar Ahmed also can come in, you never know. Shadab Khan is not bowling as good as he does normally … his last 10 ODI performances hasn’t been up to his calibre. He used to take important wickets against any team. He used to do that role really well. Ever since, he has taken more role in batting, I think the focus has gone down a bit. It can happen. I feel he still has an important role. He needs to get his focus on the bowling.
“The role of waist/hip is important in spinner. He is not completing his action and not getting line and drift. Against the left-handed batsmen, he doesn’t seem to be as confident. It has happened with me, also. He can try round the stumps, bowl the middle line, give a single, and get the right-handers on strike. But I would say Shadab remains very important. You have benched Usama Mir. Shadab is playing cricket continuously for long now. You have Usama Mir, rest Shadab for 2-3 games and let Shadab work in the nets. Let Mir play.”