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The Fakhar Zaman conundrum

The left-hander himself needs to make a conscious effort to work on his game and figure out a solution

PHOTO: AFP

Fakhar Zaman had a horrendous run in Twenty20 cricket last year and the trend is continuing this year as well. Zaman was dropped from the Pakistan’s squad for the home series against Bangladesh in January. He still hasn’t been able to register any substantial performance in the ongoing Pakistan Super League with scores of 19, 33 and 22 in his three outings.

The left-hander was instrumental in Pakistan’s dominance in the shortest format which saw them win 11 series on the trot but recently he seems like a shadow of his former self.

In 2019, he averaged just 6.25 from 8 games with a strike-rate of 104.16. His dot ball percentage has also risen to 58.8 which is way higher than his career dot ball percentage of 41.1. Surprisingly, he was only able to hit one six in 2019. Here is a look at his numbers in T20Is since his debut.

 

Year

  INNINGS    

  RUNS  

  BALLS

 AVG

SR

HS

50s

2017

   8

  130

  118

  18.6

 110.2

  31

0

2018

  17

  568

  384

  35.5

 147.9

  91

4

2019

   8

   50

   48

  6.2

 104.2

  17     

0

Total

  33

  748

  550

 24.1

 136.0

  91

4

 

Since his match winning 91 in the triangular series final against Australia, in Harare during 2018, it has all gone downhill for Fakhar Zaman.  His last 10 scores in the format read:  2, 0, 0, 6, 7, 17, 14, 4, 11, 24. He has failed to reach score of 30 for Pakistan. In 2018, he also climbed to number two in the T20I batting rankings after a stellar tour of Zimbabwe. In total, Fakhar accumulated 568 runs at 35.5 at 147.9 in 2018.

While his compatriot, Babar Azam, the number one ranked T20I batsman has made look batting effortlessly easy, it has been a real struggle for Fakhar. Due to this Pakistan haven’t been able to get off to good starts in the powerplay which has mounted pressure on an inexperienced and one dimensional middle-order. The green shirts have faltered, both, during chases and setting up targets.

A major factor in left hander’s downfall has been that oppositions have worked him out. Fakhar’s usual mantra is he likes to stay beside the ball, goes to the ball with his arms. He never comes in line nor plants his foot forward. As a result, bowlers now are looking to pitch the ball up to him and with a bit of swing they have found Fakhar wanting with edges to keeper and slips.

As a predominant off-side player, the opposition have also not given him room to open his arms. They have pitched the ball close to him between the three stumps to cramp him for room. And whenever he has tried to open up the off-side region, he hasn’t been able to get any of sort power behind his shots giving catching practice to mid-off and mid-on.

After an underwhelming World Cup campaign in 2019, Zaman signed for Glamorgan for the Vitality Blast but wasn’t able to create any impact. In six innings he could only muster 93 runs at 15. Although he did show some signs of regaining form in the National T20 Cup last month with scores of 45, 82* and 39, but hasn’t been able to translate that form in the international arena.

Fakhar himself needs to make a conscious effort to work on his game and figure out a solution. His career strike rate of 136.70 is better than most Pakistani batsmen, who are hovering in the region of 120s. With veterans in Kamran Akmal and newbie’s like Zeeshan Ashraf staking a claim for the national side, it is high time for Fakhar to start performing in the PSL with the bat and make his case for the T20 World Cup this year.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of Cricket Pakistan.