Fakhar Zaman ready to bat at number six or seven during New Zealand T20Is

The first T20I between Pakistan and New Zealand will be played on January 12

January 10, 2024
Fakhar Zaman raises his bat after scoring a century. - AFP

KARACHI: Pakistan’s top-order batter Fakhar Zaman is ready to bat at number six or seven position during the upcoming T20I series against New Zealand.

While speaking during a press conference on Wednesday, Zaman said that batting lower down the order isn’t a sacrifice.

“I don't view it [batting lower down the order] as a sacrifice. If the team management doesn't see me fitting into the opening position, it suggests they believe I can contribute to winning matches batting lower in the order,” said Zaman.

“Given the competition for spots in the national team, I consider myself fortunate to secure a place in the playing XI, especially with the impressive performances from players like Babar, Rizwan, and Saim.

“If Babar or Rizwan come at one down, then I can come at two down. I will be happy to play at number six or seven even.”

He also opened up about experimenting in the batting order ahead of the T20 World Cup later this year.

“You can create a backup for Babar and Rizwan but it is difficult to take their place. Since we have 15 to 20 matches before the World Cup, we can try new players and senior players can be given rest in some matches,” he said.

The shift in the batting order was conceived during the Test tour of Australia. Initially planning to enlist Saim Ayub and Fakhar Zaman as the opening duo, the management revised their strategy, opting for vice-captain Mohammad Rizwan alongside Saim at the top of the order.

In this reformed lineup, former skipper Babar Azam is slated to bat at number three, with Fakhar Zaman earmarked for the number four spot.

Despite this reshuffle, the 29-year-old Azam has not lodged any protest or voiced disagreement over this change.

Pakistan squad for New Zealand T20Is

Shaheen Shah Afridi (captain), Aamir Jamal, Abbas Afridi, Azam Khan (wk), Babar Azam, Fakhar Zaman, Haris Rauf, Haseebullah (wk), Iftikhar Ahmed, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan (vc/wk), Mohammad Wasim Jnr, Sahibzada Farhan, Saim Ayub, Usama Mir and Zaman Khan

Schedule of Pakistan vs New Zealand T20I series

1st T20 – 12 January 2024 at Eden Park, Auckland

2nd T20 – 14 January 2024 at Seddon Park, Hamilton

3rd T20 – 17 January 2024 at University Oval, Dunedin

4th T20 – 19 January 2024 at Hagley Oval, Christchurch

5th T20 – 21 January 2024 at Hagley Oval, Christchurch

Atique ur Rehman is a senior reporter for Geo News.