Where is Fakhar Zaman headed in T20Is

LEEDS, ENGLAND - JUNE 29: Fakhar Zaman of Pakistan walks off after being dismissed by Mujeeb Ur Rahman of Afghanistan during the Group Stage match of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 between Pakistan and Afghanistan at Headingley on June 29, 2019 in Leeds, England. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

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.

LONDON, ENGLAND – JUNE 18: Fakhar Zaman of Pakistan celebrates his century during the ICC Champions Trophy Final between Pakistan and India at The Kia Oval on June 18, 2017 in London, England. (Photo by Matthew Lewis-ICC/ICC via Getty Images)

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 power play 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 Haider Ali and 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.

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