'You think Babar or Rizwan can hit the spinners better than me?' - Pakistan batter's huge statement
Fakhar Zaman explained why he doesn't open in T20Is for Pakistan amidst calls for the explosive left-hander's promotion up the order in the shortest format. But the outspoken cricketer's reasoning for holding onto the No.3 spot became an indirect dig at the six-hitting abilities of longstanding opening duo Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan.
Even though he remains Pakistan's dependable aggressor at the top in the 50-overs version of the game, the Asian giants have tended to keep Fakhar one-down in the T20Is, banking on their famed sedate anchors to provide them an ideal foundation. There have been question marks on both Babar and Rizwan's strike-rate but that hasn't led to change in Pakistan's plans.
But as Fakhar Zaman continues his dominating streak in the ongoing One-Day series against New Zealand with back-to-back tons, the debate on his T20I spot in the line-up has retriggered with many on the outside feeling that the 2009 T20 World Cup champions are missing on quick starts by not sending him in the powerplay.
The left-hander himself has an interesting take on it, as he told press that the No.3 spot allows to target the opposition spinners by bringing his left-handedness and acceleration into play. The explanation, however, came at the cost of the Babar-Rizwan duo, as Fakhar ended up asking the media, who hits the spinners better?
Fakhar Zaman's amusing take on retaining No.3 spot in T20Is
The question on the No.3 spot in T20Is was asked after his tremendous 180 not out in Pakistan's win in the second ODI in Rawalpindi. Speaking to the press, Fakhar Zaman got asked specifically, 'You have 5 hundreds as ODI opener, but are being sent at No.3 at T20’s. Shouldn’t you be used as opener?', with a request not to be diplomatic in his response.
"You had told me not to be diplomatic, I am never diplomatic, if you think that, it’s different thing," Fakhar agreed to the request, before giving an honest response and backing the team management's call to retain him at the No.3 spot, but with an interesting jibe at the Babar-Rizwan opening duo.
Also Read - Not MS Dhoni's last IPL season? Stephen Fleming's shocking revelation
For Fakhar, since it's obvious that he can hit the spinners, who operate in the middle stage, better than both Babar and Rizwan, who like to milk the tweakers and take things deep, it's only wise on the think-tank to keep him at No.3 and put the pressure on the bowlers.
"Look at the team situation … what do you think? Babar or Rizwan can hit the spinners better or me? I think it’s me. The team’s combination demands that a left-hander is needed in the middle. In fact, two of them. The way Babar and Rizwan are performing, no one fits as opener," he added.
Notably, however, Fakhar Zaman's T20I record isn't a patch on his impressive ODI returns. The left-hander has a poor-looking average of 21.71 retained at a strike-rate of just 128.17 over 76 T20Is. The record is equally poor versus the spinners, as he averages 22.21 with a strike-rate of 126.48, including just 21 sixes in 45 innings.
For more updates, follow CricXtasy on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.