Learnt how to be fearless from McCullum, says Pakistani opener Fakhar Zaman

Learnt how to be fearless from McCullum, says Pakistani opener Fakhar Zaman

McCullum backed the youngster to play his natural game.

Fakhar Zaman of Pakistan
Fakhar Zaman of Pakistan. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Swashbuckling, fearless, aggressive and an entertainer par excellence, no matter what words or phrases you use to describe the Kiwi legend Brendon McCullum, they won’t do justice to his style of batting. His way of approaching the game didn’t just entertain but inspired many to walk on that path. One of them is the Pakistani opener Fakhar Zaman, who has been bludgeoning the new ball with some tenacity in the ongoing Champions Trophy.

Pakistan have chased down not very high totals in all their previous three games in the tournament, but Fakhar has been providing them with a great start almost every time, killing half the target in no time. He has been a pivotal contributor pretty much in all the games that they’ve won in this tournament and his fearless approach has been laying solid foundations for the middle order, which still seems a bit fragile.

With scores of 31, 50 and 57, all eyes are on him in the final against the old enemies. Fakhar credits his success to McCullum, who have been teammates for Lahore Qalandars in the Pakistan Super League. He said that it was a memorable experience working with a player of his calibre.

“The first time I met him, he saw me batting and he told me ‘Fakhar, you’ll play all our matches, but ensure you play this (style of) game everywhere,” Fakhar said while talking to cricket.com.au.

“I learnt a lot from him. And I saw him the other day after my debut and he’s said me so many things that are working for me. All of the Qalanders really enjoyed playing with him.” he added.

PSL has been very successful in player development: Mickey Arthur

Nothing much to argue about the fact that as Pakistan Super League has indeed played a crucial role in shaping youngsters like Fakhar Zaman or Hasan Ali. They got some great exposure and experience, working with players of the highest order in International cricket like McCullum, Shane Watson, Chris Gayle etc.

Pakistan’s head coach Mickey Arthur reckons its PSL that has been very helpful in players’ development. “(It) exposes more and more young players to pressure situations, and I think the more we can expose our guys to those situations, the better results we get out on the ground. I think we can see our style and method catching up with the rest of the world because we’re being exposed to it now,” he said.

Pakistan’s road to the finals has been a mixed baggage of twists and turns. After India annihilated them in their opening game, no one’s money was on the Green Army to go through to the finale. But as always, Pakistan have done a Pakistan and entered the finals in a dramatic way.

He also mentioned that presence of some big players in the team invariably has an impact on the younger players and helps them progress. With the big match underway, they would want to do something incredible to defy the odds and history to win their first ICC tournament in 8 years.