Wednesday Feb 03, 2021
Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium's pitch has long been thought of as few of the rare ones in the country that support fast bowling but that may not be the case when Pakistan take on South Africa in the second Test on Thursday, according to all-rounder Faheem Ashraf.
Ashraf believes the nature of the Pindi wicket has changed of late, and it now offers something to everyone.
“I played first-class cricket here almost four years back when there was lift for pace bowlers more due to grass on the wicket," he told The News. "Now it has become a true supporting track where bowlers and batsmen can equally benefit. Even spinners can play their role here.”
The Phool Nagar-born cricketer said that all the team members were determined to not let their 1-0 lead slip away.
“We have a good chance of winning the series," Ashraf said. "Now when we are 1-0 up, our efforts would be to win the series 2-0. The entire team is looking forward to making the best use of the opportunity coming against a good opposition after a long time.”
He said the team had a better net practice session on Tuesday. “There was an overcast sky and we really enjoyed our training session. Personally, I felt much better and energetic in the session today.”
The all-rounder said he had put in a lot of efforts to become a true red-ball cricketer.
“Most of the fans have seen my white-ball cricket prowess but I have worked hard to excel in red-ball but nobody noticed. My consistent batting performance in recent times is a result of hard work. Since joining the national team I have been training hard and always tried to cement my place in the team.”
Faheem also admitted that playing county cricket was an additional support.
“You learn a lot in county where you play regular cricket and get exposure against the best of players. My game has improved after playing county cricket but I would also give credit to Pakistan coaches for working hard on players. They have every tip to share with cricketers and it is up to players to benefit maximum from these tips.”
He said he wanted to be a bowling all-rounder. “My efforts have always been to become a true bowling all-rounder rather a batsman or a bowler.”
When asked whether former quality batsman Mohammad Yousaf had any role in improving his batting, Faheem said he was not alone.
“All the coaches, especially team coaches worked on our flaws and helped us remove them. Yousaf is also one of them. What you need is hard and regular training to overcome your weaknesses.”