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'Confident' Faheem Ashraf keen on sticking to basics in the future
Pakistan News

'Confident' Faheem Ashraf keen on sticking to basics in the future

Faheem Ashraf was one of the few bright spots in Pakistan's disappointing first innings in reply to New Zealand in the ongoing first Test at the Bay Oval.

Faheem, playing in his first Test match since January 2019, batted splendidly for his valuable contribution of 91 that helped Pakistan avoid the follow-on.

Coming into bat at a crisis situation for his team, Faheem exuded confidence with his punchy strokeplay to chip away at New Zealand's enormous lead.

The 26-year-old's impressive knock was embodied by a penchant for hitting boundaries as he smacked a total of one six and 15 fours including four in a row off Tim Southee.

After Pakistan's plans of batting patiently to forge healthy stands failed in the face of New Zealand's relentless pace quartet, Faheem joined his skipper Mohammad Rizwan in the middle at 80/6.

"When I walked out to the middle, Rizwan was batting with me. We discussed a simple plan that we have to construct a partnership to take the innings as long as possible," Faheem stated in a video released by the PCB following his fine effort.

"We knew that the more time we'd stay at the wicket, it would be beneficial for the team. Our efforts to dig in and fight at the crease reaped rewards and we did well," he assessed.

Faheem bettered his previous highest Test score of 83, against Ireland on debut, by eight runs but was unable to bring up his maiden century in the format.

Instead of regretting his dismissal off Kyle Jamieson, which prevented him from reaching the landmark figure, Faheem felt proud to make runs for his team at the biggest stage.

"We were only thinking about the team. Yes, this is my career-best score but I was focused on making runs for the team," he said.

He also vowed to stick to the current mantra of success and continue his good form in future games.

"You do get a boost of confidence when you make runs for your country and it helps you in the long-term as you can stick to the plans that have given you success."

With New Zealand now acquiring a lead of 192 runs, Pakistan would be hoping to either skittle the opposition for a low total or stretch their declaration to leave a small amount of time for the tourists to bat through for a draw.

Faheem took note of both the options available for Pakistan and aimed at executing the plans the bowlers were able to execute on the opening day of the Test match.

"We will be going with the same strategy as in the first innings to not close out easy run-scoring options for them," he claimed.

"Our primary aim will be to take wickets but if we are not able to do that, we will be hoping to keep things tight and not concede a lot of runs in the second innings."