Image taken by: Bimal Mirwani
Former India spinner Anil Kumble recalled how Pakistan opener Fakhar Zaman used to charge at bowlers from ball one when he started playing international cricket.
During that time, Zaman “was a destructive player” who could turn the game around single-handedly.
While he is still capable of doing this today, as shown in the 2023 ICC Cricket World Cup, Kumble feels that the 33-year-old has withdrawn into a shell and changed his overall approach to batting.
“When he first came onto the scene, he was a destructive player, he would come charging at the bowler from ball one, but somehow over the last year, he seems to have gone into a shell, trying to build an innings and change his game,” he told ESPNcricinfo.
Zaman featured in Pakistan’s World Cup opener against the Netherlands before being dropped for the next five matches.
He then returned to the playing XI and blasted 81 and 126 not out against Bangladesh and New Zealand respectively.
Pakistan won their first two matches against the Netherlands and Sri Lanka before losing four straight to India, Australia, Afghanistan and South Africa.
They managed to stop their losing streak and keep themselves alive in the race to the semi-finals with back-to-back wins over Bangladesh and New Zealand.
Pakistan ultimately failed to secure a final four spot and lost their last group stage game to England by 93 runs, during which Zaman scored one run.
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