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Ex-Pakistan all-rounder Yasir Arafat has heaped praise on opening batsman Fakhar Zaman and middle-order batsman Asif Ali for their excellent performances in the recently concluded T20 tri-series against Zimbabwe and Australia.
Zaman was the second-highest scorer in the tournament as he finished with 278 runs in five matches, which included three half-centuries, at an average of 55.60 and a strike-rate of 157.06.
He also scored a career-best 91, which helped Pakistan beat Australia in the final and win the tri-series.
“Whilst we have struggled in our batting department, I am delighted to say that there are some names in the Pakistan line-up who are offering us glimpses of a very bright future in this department of the game,” Arafat wrote in his blog for PakPassion. “Let me start with Fakhar Zaman and say that he is a big-match player who has the ability to win games for his country and is a selfless individual with the X factor and who plays for his side rather than himself as we saw many times in the Champions Trophy, last year.
“This is something inexperienced players can be guilty of when trying to cement a place in the team. Fakhar is now the number 2 ranked T20I batsmen in the world and there is no doubt in my mind that given his form and desire to succeed, he will also become the number one batsman in the near future.”
As for Asif, he repeatedly played a pivotal role in the latter part of Pakistan’s innings as he accumulated 117 runs in five matches at an average of 117 and a strike-rate of 167.14.
“The other batsman who impressed me was Asif Ali who played, what I would describe as, a few match-turning innings where he came in towards the end and scored at a very high strike-rate,” Arafat wrote. “Such innings can change the complexion of a game and his presence is a great plus for the Pakistan side.”