In cricket, decisions made by team management often come under scrutiny, especially when they involve the omission of talented players. In a recent turn of events, former India National Cricket Team head coach Ravi Shastri and former Australia National Cricket Team all-rounder Shane Watson have lashed out at the Pakistan team management for dropping Fakhar Zaman from the playing XI in the ICC World Cup 2023.
Fakhar Zaman, a name that has resonated with cricket enthusiasts, was going through a rough patch for an extended period. His struggle culminated when he was left out of the playing XI after Pakistan’s first match in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 against the Netherlands. Adding to his woes, he suffered a knee injury in the middle of the competition, rendering him ineligible for selection.
However, the cricketing world witnessed a dramatic turnaround in Fakhar Zaman’s fortune. The 33-year-old was included in the playing XI for Imam-ul-Haq against Bangladesh, marking one of three changes made by the Men In Green. Shadab Khan and Mohammad Nawaz were also omitted, while Agha Salman and Usama Mir were replaced.
Fakhar Zaman seized this opportunity to make a roaring comeback and showcased a batting masterclass in the 31st match of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023. The stage was set at the iconic Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Tuesday, October 31.
In a dazzling display of talent, Fakhar Zaman smashed 81 runs off 74 balls, embellishing his innings with 3 fours and an impressive 7 sixes against the formidable Bangla Tigers. His scintillating performance not only secured a victory for his team but also earned him the Player of the Match award. Notably, he became only the second Pakistan batter to hit five or more sixes in a men’s ODI World Cup innings after Imran Nazir’s heroics in 2007 when he struck 8 sixes against Zimbabwe.
The cricketer-turned-commentators Shane Watson and Ravi Shastri were in awe of Fakhar’s impactful performance, and they didn’t hold back in expressing their disapproval of Pakistan’s earlier decision.
Watson, known for his all-round abilities, emphasized that Fakhar is a match-winner and a captain of MS Dhoni’s caliber and would never drop such a player from the playing XI. Ravi Shastri shared Watson’s sentiments, reinforcing that a captain like MS Dhoni would always back a match-winner like Fakhar Zaman.
“There’s one captain I know who would have full faith in a match winner. He would stick with them, knowing that they would come good. That’s MS Dhoni,” Shane Watson said while speaking on-air on Star Sports.
“Yeah! He (MS Dhoni) would always play Fakhar (Zaman). That’s for sure,” Ravi Shastri said.
The repercussions of Fakhar’s remarkable return to form were evident on the field. Pakistan displayed an all-round brilliance against the Bangla Tigers, winning the match comfortably by 7 wickets with 105 balls remaining. This victory not only showcased Fakhar’s abilities but also served as a testament to the importance of faith and confidence in players.