Fakhar Zaman

Fakhar Zaman

Player Bio

Fakhar Zaman is a renowned Pakistani cricketer who has made significant contributions to the Pakistan national cricket team and various domestic teams. Zaman's exceptional opening batting skills have earned him recognition since his birth on April 10, 1990, in Mardan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan.He bats left-handed and occasionally bowls slow left-arm orthodox. Zaman's rise to prominence in international cricket can be attributed to his stellar performance in the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy, where he played a match-winning innings of 114 runs off 106 balls in the final. This performance not only earned him the "man of the match" title but also cemented his place in the national team. In the realm of cricket, Zaman has accomplished two extraordinary milestones. On July 20, 2018, he became the pioneer Pakistani player to attain a double century in an ODI match. He further cemented his legacy by breaking the record for the fastest player to reach 1,000 runs in ODIs.

Early Life

Fakhar Zaman was born in Katlang, Mardan District. At the age of 16, after completing his matriculation, he moved to Karachi. Zaman became a sailor in the Pakistan Navy in 2007. He received his training and education at the Pakistan Navy School, Bahadur. His decision to join the navy was influenced by his father, who was concerned about Zaman's deep-rooted passion for cricket during his childhood. His father wanted him to prioritise academics over cricket. The name "Fakhar" translates to "pride" in English, and fittingly, among his teammates, he is affectionately called "fauji," which means "soldier."

Zaman's cricketing journey took a significant turn in 2012 when he represented the navy in the International Defence Cricket Challenge Cup held in Australia. His outstanding performance in the tournament earned him the title of the best player. Recognizing his contributions to the sport, the navy later awarded him the honorary rank of Lieutenant in 2020.

Despite his naval commitments, Zaman's passion for cricket remained undiminished. While in Karachi, he occasionally played cricket in inter-departmental matches, representing the Pakistan Navy cricket team. His talent was spotted by his navy coach, Azam Khan, who encouraged him to pursue a professional cricketing career. In 2013, after much contemplation, Zaman decided to leave his naval career to chase his dream of becoming a professional cricketer. He began playing for regional teams like the Abbottabad Falcons and various Karachi teams. His consistent performances in domestic tournaments like the 2016 Pakistan Cup and the 2016–17 Quaid-e-Azam Trophy caught the attention of the national selectors. Pakistan's coach, Mickey Arthur, noticed his potential during a training camp in Lahore, which eventually led to Zaman's inclusion in the national team.

Fakhar Zaman's journey from a small town in Mardan to the international cricket arena is a testament to his dedication, passion, and unwavering belief in his abilities. His early life experiences, including his time in the navy, have undoubtedly shaped his character and resilience, making him one of the most formidable cricketers in the contemporary cricketing world.

Rise in Domestic Cricket

Fakhar Zaman's journey in domestic cricket is a tale of perseverance, talent, and an undying passion for the game. After moving to Karachi and leaving his naval career behind, Zaman's focus shifted entirely to cricket. He began his domestic career by representing regional teams, including the Abbottabad Falcons and various Karachi-based teams. His natural talent as an opening batter was evident from the start.

In Karachi, Zaman's cricketing journey took a significant turn. He continued to play in inter-departmental matches and represented the Pakistan Navy cricket team. His performances did not go unnoticed. His navy coach, Azam Khan, was particularly impressed by Zaman's skills and saw potential in him that went beyond departmental cricket. Khan encouraged Zaman to consider professional cricket as a viable career option.

Taking this advice to heart, Zaman made a pivotal decision in 2013. He left his stable job with the navy to pursue his dream of playing professional cricket. This decision marked the beginning of a new chapter in his cricketing journey. He started playing for regional outfits like the Abbottabad Falcons and several teams in Karachi. His consistent performances, especially in the 2016 Pakistan Cup, where he was the second-highest run-scorer, made him a prominent figure in domestic cricket. His impressive stint in the 2016–17 Quaid-e-Azam Trophy further solidified his reputation as a reliable and aggressive opener.

Zaman's domestic performances caught the attention of many, including Pakistan's coach, Mickey Arthur. During a training camp in Lahore, Arthur recognized Zaman's potential, which eventually paved the way for his inclusion in the national side. Additionally, his domestic prowess led to his selection in various franchises. He was picked by the Lahore Qalandars for the 2017 Pakistan Super League (PSL). Under the mentorship of New Zealand player Brendon McCullum, Zaman honed his skills further. Despite facing setbacks in his initial PSL seasons, Zaman's individual performances were commendable. In the 2020 PSL season, he played a pivotal role in guiding the Qalandars to the finals. His contributions in the PSL, combined with his domestic records, made it clear that Zaman was ready for the international stage.

International Debut and Initial Success

Fakhar Zaman's international debut was eagerly anticipated, given his stellar domestic performances. The wait ended in March 2017 when he was named in Pakistan's limited-overs squad for their matches against the West Indies. He made his Twenty20 International (T20I) debut for Pakistan against the West Indies on 30 March 2017. A few months later, in June, he made his One Day International (ODI) debut against South Africa.

However, it was the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy that truly marked Zaman's arrival on the international scene. In the final against arch-rivals India, Zaman showcased his mettle. After a lucky reprieve early in his innings, he capitalised on the opportunity and went on to score a scintillating century. His innings of 114 runs off 106 balls was instrumental in setting a challenging target for India. Pakistan emerged victorious in the final, and Zaman's century played a crucial role in this win. He was rightly adjudged the "man of the match" for his outstanding performance. This innings not only established Zaman as a reliable opener for Pakistan but also showcased his ability to perform under pressure.

Zaman's success did not stop there. During an ODI series against Zimbabwe in July 2018, he made history as the first Pakistani batsman to score a double century in ODIs. This record-breaking innings of 210 not out showcased Zaman's ability to play long innings and dominate bowling attacks. A few days later, he set another record by becoming the fastest batsman to score 1,000 runs in ODIs, achieving this milestone in just 18 innings.

His consistent performances in ODIs led to his Test debut in October 2018 against Australia. Even in the longest format of the game, Zaman made his presence felt by scoring 94 and 66 in his debut match.

In the subsequent years, Zaman continued to be a vital part of Pakistan's batting lineup in limited-overs cricket. His ability to provide quick starts and play match-winning innings made him a mainstay in the team. Whether it was scoring the highest individual total while chasing in an ODI against South Africa in 2021 or his contributions in various series, Zaman's impact in international cricket was undeniable.

Major Milestones and Records

Fakhar Zaman's cricketing journey is adorned with numerous milestones and records that stand as a testament to his prowess and consistency. From his early days in domestic cricket to his rise in the international arena, Zaman has etched his name in the annals of cricket history with some remarkable achievements.

One of the most significant milestones in Zaman's career came during the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy. In the final against India, he scored a brilliant century, becoming the first Pakistani batsman to score a hundred in an ICC event final. This innings of 114 runs off 106 balls was instrumental in Pakistan's victory, earning him the "man of the match" award. This performance not only solidified his place in the national team but also announced his arrival on the global stage.

However, the records didn't stop there. In July 2018, during an ODI series against Zimbabwe, Zaman achieved a monumental feat by becoming the first Pakistani batsman to score a double century in ODIs. His unbeaten 210 set the record for the highest individual score by a Pakistani in the 50-over format. This innings showcased Zaman's ability to play long, dominating innings, making him one of the most feared openers in the world.

A few days after his double century, Zaman set another record by becoming the fastest batsman to score 1,000 runs in ODIs. He achieved this milestone in just 18 innings, surpassing the previous record held by five other batsmen who reached the mark in 21 innings. This record further emphasised his consistency and ability to score big runs at a rapid pace.

Zaman's records were not limited to ODIs. In T20Is, he became the first Pakistani batsman to score 500 or more runs in a calendar year. His performances in the shortest format of the game made him a valuable asset for the national team, especially in crucial tournaments and series.

Challenges and Comebacks

Like every sportsperson, Fakhar Zaman's journey was not devoid of challenges. Despite his early successes, he faced periods of inconsistency and was often criticised for his technique and shot selection. There were times when he struggled to convert starts into big scores, leading to questions about his place in the team.

One of the significant challenges came during the 2019 Cricket World Cup. Despite entering the tournament with high expectations, Zaman struggled to find form. His inability to provide solid starts at the top of the order was one of the reasons Pakistan faced an uphill battle in the initial stages of the tournament. Critics were quick to point out his technical flaws, and there were calls for his exclusion from the team.

However, true champions are defined by their ability to bounce back from adversity, and Zaman was no exception. Post the World Cup, he worked diligently on his technique, focusing on his weaknesses and seeking guidance from senior players and coaches. His hard work paid off as he returned to form in the subsequent series, silencing his critics with a string of impressive performances.

Another challenge came in June 2020, during Pakistan's tour to England amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Zaman was one of seven players from the squad who tested positive for COVID-19. This setback not only kept him out of the initial matches but also posed a significant health risk. However, showing immense resilience, Zaman made a full recovery and returned to the team, ready to contribute with his bat.

One of his most memorable comebacks was in April 2021, during an ODI against South Africa. Chasing a mammoth target, Zaman played a breathtaking innings of 193 runs. Despite ending on the losing side, his innings was hailed as one of the best in ODI cricket. This knock was a clear indication of Zaman's mental strength and his ability to rise to the occasion when the team needed him the most.

Current Status in the Cricket World

As of now, Fakhar Zaman remains an integral part of the Pakistan cricket team, especially in the limited-overs format. His aggressive style of play at the top of the order provides the team with the impetus they need during the powerplay overs. Over the years, Zaman has established himself as one of the mainstays of the Pakistani batting lineup, and his contributions have been instrumental in many of the team's successes.

In recent series and tournaments, Zaman has continued to showcase his batting prowess, churning out significant scores and playing match-winning innings. His ability to adapt to different conditions and take on the world's best bowlers has earned him accolades and respect from peers and experts alike. Apart from his contributions with the bat, Zaman's fielding skills and occasional bowling stints add value to the team, making him a versatile player.

With the T20 World Cup and other major tournaments on the horizon, Zaman's role in the Pakistan team will be crucial. His experience, combined with his ability to play big knocks, will be vital for the team's success in these tournaments.

Fakhar Zaman's journey from the streets of Mardan to the grand stages of international cricket is nothing short of inspirational. His story is a testament to the power of passion, dedication, and hard work. From his early days in domestic cricket to setting records on the international stage, Zaman has faced challenges head-on and emerged stronger every time. As he continues to don the green jersey and represent Pakistan, fans and cricket enthusiasts worldwide can look forward to many more scintillating performances from this cricketing maestro.

When did Fakhar Zaman make his international debut?
Zaman made his T20I debut against the West Indies on 30 March 2017 and his ODI debut in June 2017 against South Africa.
Is Fakhar Zaman the first Pakistani to score a double century in ODIs?
Yes, Zaman became the first Pakistani batsman to score a double century in ODIs in July 2018 against Zimbabwe.
Which team does Fakhar Zaman represent in the Pakistan Super League (PSL)?
Fakhar Zaman represents Lahore Qalandars in the PSL.
What is Fakhar Zaman's highest score in ODIs?
Zaman's highest score in ODIs is 210 not out, which he achieved against Zimbabwe.
Where was Fakhar Zaman born?
Fakhar Zaman was born in Katlang, Mardan District, Pakistan.