Steadily establishing a reputation of being a dependable lower middle-order batsman for Pakistan's Test team, Asad Shafiq seems to be riding high following a comeback into the ODI squad for the upcoming West Indies series. He has more reasons to cheer after head coach Mickey Arthur likened him to Indian batting icon Sachin Tendulkar. The 30-year old has expressed delight in the lofty comparison citing his admiration for the Little Master.
In an interview with PakPassion.net, the Karachi-born cricketer opened up on his experiences during the recently completed England tour and hailed Arthur’s arrival into the Pakistani management.
When asked about the comparison, Shafiq enthused, “To compare me to a player (Sachin) who was the reason I started to play cricket and a player whose videos I would watch all day is truly special for me. It's a very positive message from Mickey for me and it's made me feel very proud.
“During the Test series in England, Mickey was saying to me that he thought technically I am a good batsman and that I could get even better if I batted higher up the order.
“He always spoke very highly of me in England and that was a real boost for me. I feel that I am improving as a cricketer under the tutelage of Mickey. As a cricketer I'm very happy and proud to be mentioned in the same breath as the great Sachin Tendulkar and I'll take these comments forward with me.”
Following a handy contribution to Pakistan's euphoric victory at Lord's, Shafiq endured a torrid time in the subsequent couple of Tests. However, he bounced back with a stellar century at The Oval and assisted veteran Younis Khan in a decisive partnership which allowed them to level the series 2-2.
Impressed by his technical prowess, Arthur had claimed that he could almost visualize Sachin when looking at the diminutive batsman’s side-on front foot play.
From 45 Tests, Shafiq has scored 2871 runs at an average of 42.85 with nine centuries and fourteen fifties. Eager to improve his batting, he quipped, “I never look too far into the future or set myself any specific targets. I tend to look ahead to the short-term rather than the long-term.
“I have always said to myself that I need to maximize my talent and to fully utilize my skills. I don’t want to finish cricket in future and feel that I underachieved. I'm nearing three thousand Test runs but the target I have set myself is to reach seven thousand or more Test runs before I retire.”
However, his ODI numbers have been extremely underwhelming with 58 matches yielding only 1318 runs at a paltry average of 25.34 and below par strike-rate of 67.93. He will be keen on translating his Test form into the limited-overs arena as well when the West Indies series starts on Friday at Sharjah.
Asad Shafiq "Sachin Tendulkar is the reason I started to play cricket & all day I would watch videos of him batting" #Cricket— Saj Sadiq (@Saj_PakPassion) 28 September 2016