KARACHI: Wicket-keeper batter Azam Khan feels that he'll be free of an "added pressure" during the Pakistan Super League (PSL) 2022 after he was transferred to Islamabad United from Quetta Gladiators.
The 23-year-old cricketer told Geo News that he was always under a shadow because his father Moin Khan was coach at Quetta Gladiators and being the son of coach brought him under criticism.
"People used to call me PARCHI because my father was the head coach of the side, but now I am picked by a different franchise, under a different coaching staff, this is a new experience for me and I'll surely be free from that added pressure," he said ahead of the PSL
"It is a big opportunity for me, I am playing for Islamabad United as a local wicket-keeper batter and this will provide me a chance to exhibit my talent," Azam said.
Azam was also criticised for his fitness and the young batter says that he has worked hard to improve his fitness standards in the last two years.
Even his captain at Islamabad United Shadab Khan had also spoken about Azam's fitness issue in an interview with Geo News last week.
"Azam is a very talented cricketer and the only issue with him is of his fitness. At Islamabad United, we'll try to improve his fitness standards as well because I feel that once he [Azam] reaches the required fitness criteria, then he’ll be among the bests," Shadab had said.
Khan acknowledged his captain’s thoughts and said that it is important for him to keep his fitness level.
"When you're being picked by different sides, you're always under a scanner and teams have their expectations, being a professional player, it is my job to live up to their expectations and I've worked hard to maintain my level,
" he said.
"Shadab has been an inspiration for me. He has always helped me in improving my skills and my fitness, I look forward to learning from him," Azam said.
When asked about his PSL 2022 goals, Azam said that he hasn't set big targets for himself and will try to perform according to the team's requirements.
Azam also spoke about what he went through after he was dropped from Pakistan’s T20 World Cup squad after being initially named in the team by the selectors.
"Disappointment was natural, but it is part and parcel of your career. You go through ups and downs in your career. I am glad that I underwent such an experience at the start of my career. And, I must say that it's just the start of my career, there will be hundreds of opportunities for me when the time is right."
"It was important for me to be patient because to achieve your targets, you must show patience. As they say, what doesn't kill you makes you stronger and this experience made me stronger," he said.
Azam said that his ultimate goal is to make a comeback to the national team but he's not thinking too much about the future.
"I don't take the pressure of what is to be done in the future, I prefer to live in the present and my present is telling me to focus on PSL," he said.
"I am ready for the tournament, I will have my bat speak and when I am in the field, I will not keep my relations or friendship in my mind, I'll be playing for my team," the young batter concluded.