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Being overconfident led to a slump in form, says Fakhar Zaman
Pakistan News

Being overconfident led to a slump in form, says Fakhar Zaman

Fakhar Zaman has blamed his overconfident demeanour for his loss of form over the past year that resulted in his exclusion for the Bangladesh T20Is in January.

The attacking left-handed batsman experienced a sparkling introduction in international cricket when he helped Pakistan lift their maiden Champions Trophy title by striking a blistering century in the final against India.

He then proceeded to smash a glorious double ton against Zimbabwe in July 2018, becoming the first batsman from his country to achieve the feat in ODIs.

However, Fakhar's journey in 2019 was not the smoothest of rides as he flopped during Pakistan's first-round exit in the World Cup, managing to accumulate just 186 runs from eight games at a miserly average.

Still considered to be one of Pakistan's most dynamic white-ball batsmen, Fakhar stressed on the importance of reviving his career in the England tour as he is a part of the extended 29-man squad for the three Tests and three T20Is.

“The three T20Is in England are crucial to my career and have the potential to make or break my future in the Pakistan team," he told reporters in a virtual press conference.

Elaborating on the circumstances of his lean patch, Fakhar assessed that his role in the team caused him to develop a rigid mindset of going after the bowlers from the get-go.

"To be very honest, I had become overconfident. Even when I played domestic cricket, I would often take my time to settle at the crease.

"I would give credit to [previous head coach] Mickey Arthur for letting my play freely. Because of this approach, I started playing rather aggressively. But no matter how big of a player you become, you can never start hitting from the first ball," he said.

"I was thus not giving some deliveries due respect. I have now worked on the mental aspect of the game with local coaches. I can keep talking but it won’t make a difference until you see me making runs."

Fakhar maintained that this realisation won't lead him to waste an extravagant amount of deliveries as he would still be keen on being the aggressor at the top of the order.

“My role will remain the same – score at a brisk rate at the top. If you see, in the game against Sri Lanka, I played an ill-timed scoop in the first over off the new ball.

"I vow not to repeat those mistakes and maintain a healthy run rate for the team. What I mean by taking time to settle, is that I will put a price on my wicket and ensure I bat long.”

The 30-year-old, who dabbles in part-time off-spin, assured he was a matured individual as compared to his previous association with the national side.

“2018 was a very good year for me but 2019, unfortunately, I couldn’t live up to the expectations though I was trying hard. However, you learn from your failures and I too have learnt a lot from my bad patch and have worked on my flaws. Every day is a new day so I hope to perform in the upcoming series.”

Fakhar also spoke of the benefits of working with someone as experienced as Younis Khan – Pakistan's newly appointed batting coach.

“Younis Khan is a big name in Pakistan cricket and I have played in the domestic circuit with him. He has his own persona and definitely I will get to learn from him. I intend to get guidance from him on how to overcome my lean form," he said.

Pakistan's clashes against England will commence in the aftermath of the series between West Indies and the hosts. If Fakhar makes the cut for Pakistan's playing XI, this will be his first international appearance since the T20I outing against Australia in Canberra last year.