Fakhar Zaman was always creating himself in the Pakistan group when Jasprit Bumrah’s no-ball in the Champions Trophy last triggered his less likely increase from navy sailor to World Cup talisman. India showed up to have made the perfect begin in the 2017 Champions Trophy showpiece when Zaman edged to wicketkeeper MS Dhoni off Bumrah.
However, the Indian quick bowler had overstepped the crease and Zaman, who had scored simply 3 during the time, was given a reprieve that he made the many of, achieving his 1st one-day international century. Zaman altered the game with a crisp 114 to help Pakistan beat their bitter rivals by a 180-run margin at the Oval to lift the trophy.
Since then Zaman has been the lynchpin of Pakistan’s batting and will be needed to anchor the line-up when the World Cup gets underway in England on May 30. “That no-ball created me. I had a goal before the final that I will be dismissed off a no-ball and it proved to be true,” Zaman declared. “Initially I was really sad as I had was assured my parents to do well in that match up.” Zaman’s role in that popular victory against India came in just his 4th ODI and made him a household label in Pakistan. But he declared the recognition has not distracted him as he targets on motivating Pakistan’s bid for a 2nd World Cup win and 1st since 1992.
“I was very blessed and ever since that century I have become popular,” he declared. “But with that fame comes responsibility and I have become more mature and now I understand the importance of participating in my part. That will be my main concern in the World Cup.” Good luck has been on the unassuming left-hander’s side since he defied his father’s guidance not to play cricket in his native Mardan.
Zaman signed up the Pakistan Navy but cricket remained his desire. He kept his hand in by participating in for the Navy team and crucially benefited from a stroke of good fortune to fulfill his wish of playing for the national side. Pakistan opener Sharjeel Khan was stopped in a spot-fixing case during the 2nd version of the Pakistan Super League in 2017, just 3 months before the Champions Trophy. Zaman’s aggressive batting had impressed head coach Mickey Arthur and chief selector Inzamamul-Haq.
They instantly chose Zaman as an attacking option and he has paid them back by averaging a stunning 51 .31 in his 36 ODIs. “I saw a sport changer in Fakhar,” recalled Inzamam. “We had to find someone to replace Sharjeel and after monitoring Fakhar we thought ‘here is our man’. “He lived up to that promise and we see him as an anchor in the World Cup .” The 29-year-old, called “soldier” by his teammates for his navy link, smashed Pakistan’s 1st double century in a one-day match in Zimbabwe a year ago and knows what is needed of him in his country’s World Cup campaign. “My job is to score runs and I will be doing that so I know that hard work will pay off ,” he said .