ICC Champions Trophy 2017: Shoaib Malik's pep talk 'breathed new life into our campaign', says Fakhar Zaman
Fakhar Zaman returned to Peshawar on Tuesday to a hero's welcome from where he journeyed by road to Mardan, his birth place.
Karachi: Pakistan opener Fakhar Zaman, who became overnight hero following his match-winning knock against India in the ICC Champions Trophy final, has credited former captain Shoaib Malik for inspiring and motivating the team after its disastrous start to the tournament.
Zaman, who won the man-of-the-match award for his scintillating century in the final against India, said Malik had boosted the team's morale with his inspirational talk after morale-shattering loss against the arch-rivals in the tournament opener.
Zaman returned to Peshawar on Tuesday to a hero's welcome from where he journeyed by road to Mardan, his birth place.
"Shoaib Malik gave an inspirational talk at the meeting and he said things about our proud cricket history that really hit us. I think it breathed new life into our campaign. We decided at that meeting that we will play all remaining matches with a changed approach and be more aggressive," he said.
Zaman, who nearly missed the final due to a stomach bug, said he had given up on playing the summit clash the night before after he suffered vomiting and had acute stomach pain.
"But all credit to our physio who stayed up with me late and treated me and he assured me I will be okay in the morning and ready to play the big match. I myself had given up on playing against India which has always been my dream," he said.
Zaman also talked about not taking any pressure when facing world class bowlers.
"I try to give them respect but never get bogged down. I try to play shots because that is the only way to pressurise a bowler. I enjoyed batting against a top-class spinner like (Ravichandran) Ashwin in the final. Hitting him for boundaries was a good feeling because he is a quality bowler," he said.
The opener also said after reaching the final they were very keen to give the nation an Eid gift.
"More than anything we wanted to show the world that even though we don't have international teams coming to play here we are a powerhouse in world cricket," Zaman added.
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"When it comes to finals we will give our best and we know that our team has the potential to do well and win the Championship," Pujara said.
Ashwin spoke about how WTC has provided a context to Test cricket and would love to see more traditional format games in neutral venues.