Image taken by: Bimal Mirwani
Shoaib Akhtar, the iconic pace bowler, believes Pakistan captain Babar Azam deserves a lot of credit for picking and placing his trust in opening batsman Abdullah Shafique.
Shafique was phenomenal in Pakistan’s 2023 ICC Cricket World Cup win over Sri Lanka, where he was included in the playing XI at the expense of regular opener Fakhar Zaman, who has not been in the best of form lately.
The 23-year-old delivered the ultimate payback for the trust invested in him as he brought up his maiden ODI century en route to smashing a career-best 113, which came off 103 balls and included 10 boundaries and three sixes.
Thanks to his brilliant batting, coupled with Mohammad Rizwan’s career-high 131 not out, Pakistan chased down a mammoth target of 345 to not only register a six-wicket victory, but also the highest successful run chase ever in the World Cup.
“Credit goes to Babar Azam to select him 1st & [trusting] him to lead the open for green caps & what a payback by Abdullah [Shafique],” Akhtar said on X, formerly known as Twitter.
Pakistan also won their opening game against the Netherlands by 81 runs, putting them in a good position heading into their match against India on October 14 in Ahmedabad.
Pakistan Squad for 2023 ICC Cricket World Cup: Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Abdullah Shafique, Babar Azam (capt), Mohammad Rizwan, Saud Shakeel, Iftikhar Ahmed, Salman Ali Agha, Shadab Khan, Usama Mir, Mohammad Nawaz, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Haris Rauf, Mohammad Wasim Jnr, Hasan Ali