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  1. #1
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    [VIDEO] Talent Spotter: Zeeshan Ashraf

    A profile of an aggressive top-order batsman from Okara who has caught the eye of Pakistan cricket enthusiasts with some impactful limited-over performances in domestic cricket.


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    Name: Zeeshan Ali Ashraf

    Born: May 11, 1992, Okara

    Major teams: Balochistan, Lahore Whites, Multan, Multan Tigers, Southern Punjab

    Batting style: Left-hand bat

    Bowling style: Right-arm off-break


    Getting into cricket

    My elder brothers were keen cricketers in Okara and were regular players in local tape-ball cricket. Initially, they would take me along to watch them play and then when I was a little older I would join in with some of the matches. Back then, it was just for fun and I would imitate Sourav Ganguly, Brian Lara and Saeed Anwar with my batting-style.


    School cricket

    My first experience of hard-ball cricket was at Government Islamia High School in Okara where I went for trials and was picked as captain. In my first match I scored a century, in my second match I scored 95 and I was very successful at the school level. Whilst at school, I also took part in an Under-15 tournament organised by the PCB for the local region and that too was another successful time for me.


    Club cricket

    At the age of 15 when I was still competing in school cricket, I played a tournament final at the main Okara cricket stadium where Mian Munir, a local cricket official and someone who also represented Multan region and went on to represent Multan on the PCB Board of Governors was present. He was the Club President at Okara Gymkhana Cricket Club and he and his senior officials watched me batting and liked what they saw. After the match they asked me to go for trials at the Gymkhana Club. I went for trials and they signed me up and ever since then I have played for this club, despite many offers from other clubs over the years. I’m currently the captain at Okara Gymkhana and Zulfiqar Babar also plays there. I owe a lot of gratitude to Mian Munir for his support from a young age till now.


    Under 19 cricket, frustration, accusations then eventual success

    In Pakistan you need guidance and in my younger days, there was nobody to guide me so Under 19 cricket became a vacuum for me. In Pakistan, everyone alters their age to show that they are younger and I wasn’t wise to that and missed out for most of the years when I should have been playing at Under 19 level. I went for Under 19 regional trials and got selected but I got limited opportunities due to over-age players getting chances ahead of me. In 2008, when I did get some chances at the age of 17, I was making 30s and 40s and a few 50s with a few matches rained-off. The same happened in the next season where I only played a few matches, making 30s and 40s when I got a chance to bat. Then in my third season of Under 19 cricket, I had my best season and got picked for the Under-19 Regional team. But I flopped at the Under-19 Regional level and in 4 innings my highest score was only 14. During this time when I was struggling, some players were making accusations of nepotism against me, despite me earning my spot through good performances at the regional and district level.


    Point to prove

    After the accusations of nepotism, I said to my team-mates that I would prove them wrong with my performances and would eventually make my way to First-Class cricket. I started to work with a coach in Lahore, Izhar Ahmed Siddiqui, an elderly man but someone who was still super-fit. He would match me doing my fitness drills and match me doing laps around the ground. He really worked hard with me and this time working with Izhar was very beneficial to me. After that I enjoyed a couple of good seasons in Regional cricket but I was still overlooked by any First-Class teams in 2011 and 2012.


    Super Eight Tournament in 2011

    This tournament was in Faisalabad and I played in the same team where Asif Ali scored a hundred. We were both making our debuts and I scored 35 off 13 or 14 balls batting at number three. After that innings, I only got a chance to bat at number 6 or 7 in this tournament


    The importance of Wasim Haider

    After being overlooked season after season by First-Class teams, Wasim Haider was important for my career after he watched me playing and he gave an opportunity in First-Class cricket for Multan in 2013. I made a half-century in the second innings on debut and I made a steady start in the next few matches also at this level. When Wasim Haider watched me bat, he thought I had it in me to play in the Limited-overs formats too and I was given a chance for Multan Tigers. On debut, I scored 71 off 53 balls and I finished as third-highest scorer for my team.


    Pakistan Under 23s

    I was then in 2013 picked in the squad for Pakistan Under 23s who were due to play an Asia Cup tournament in Singapore. But then I was dropped for the reserve players for this squad and I missed out on this tournament.


    Grade II

    Unfortunately, then in 2014/2015 Multan were relegated to Grade II and this started a very tough period in my career. I wasn’t picked even for Grade II cricket and just played club cricket when I was given the chance. I was playing in local tournaments and doing very well, but the chances for Multan just weren’t coming. Then an opportunity arose when a new departmental team for Grade II was formed, called Ghani Glass. They called me for trials and their captain Moiz Ghani asked me to start playing for them. The coach there was Mohammad Ramzan who played a Test for Pakistan and I learnt a lot from him whilst playing for Ghani Glass and was top-scorer in the PCB Patron's Trophy (Grade II) 2017/18 with 512 runs in 6 matches with two 100s and two 50s.


    Return to First-Class Cricket

    Last year, the offers started coming in to play First-Class once again. ZTBL, KRL and State Bank all offered me contracts but playing for your Region is special and I declined the offers of other teams and played for Multan again. While I struggled a little in the longer format, I made almost 500 runs during One-Day matches last season.


    Lahore Whites

    I was picked by Lahore Whites for the National T20 Cup in December 2018 but in that tournament, I was given opportunities down the order as the team had Kamran Akmal, Salman Butt and Umar Akmal. I had been an OK tournament for me, not great, but it was not bad. We won the tournament but I could have done better.


    Pakistan Cup 2019

    I opened the batting for Balochistan with Awais Zia in this 50-over tournament. In our team's win over Sindh, I made 75 which was the second-highest score of the innings.


    Never Gave Up

    I never gave up and never lost belief. There were some very bad days and some days where I had enough of cricket, but my father who is also my best friend has really supported me through the tough times. When things are not going well, it’s important you have good supportive people around you and I am lucky that I have my father and a couple of good friends who have been around for me. They always said to me that better days would come, don’t give up on cricket.


    National T20 Cup 2nd XI 2019

    It was a brilliant tournament for me where I was named player of the tournament after scoring 395 runs at an average of 66 and strike-rate of 175. Everything clicked into place and after all the tough times, when you have this sort of tournament you savour it and realise that all the hard work was worth it.


    New domestic structure

    I was picked for Southern Punjab Second XI although I am hopeful that the call-up to the First XI isn’t too far away. The players are really under pressure to perform in the new domestic structure as the competition for places is really intense. I’ve seen quite a few players who are now without any income and even those who are playing are struggling. In addition, some players have been around for a long time and they are sometimes preferred over players who haven’t been playing too much cricket. It’s almost like a seniority rules scenario.


    Cricket heroes

    Being a left-handed batsman, my favourite cricketers and heroes are Kumar Sangakkara and Saeed Anwar. Both were brilliant batsmen and batsmen who will be remembered for many years to come.


    Pakistan Super League

    Well I won’t lie, I would love to play for Multan Sultans in the Pakistan Super League. After all they are my local team, but I’d be more than happy to play for any team if given the chance.
    Last edited by MenInG; 29th October 2019 at 13:28.


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  2. #2
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    Videos.









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  3. #3
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    His superb form continues
    Made 70(127) for southern Punjab XIagainst Balochistan 2nd XI

  4. #4
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  5. #5
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    Is he from Okara or Multan?

  6. #6
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  7. #7
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    Interesting, i wish every player was this open

  8. #8
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    He picked a regional team over a department as well, a loyal fellow.

  9. #9
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    Spoke very honestly about his career highs and lows and what he's been through.

    Pakistan cricket really is messed up and you really need strong backing or influential people behind you if you want to succeed and be given opportunities.



  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Saj View Post
    Spoke very honestly about his career highs and lows and what he's been through.

    Pakistan cricket really is messed up and you really need strong backing or influential people behind you if you want to succeed and be given opportunities.
    I don't entirely agree with this. If you have Yuvraj Singh talent, backing or not, you cannot go unnoticed for long. Look at Kushdil Shah, for years he was making noise about being the power hitter and finisher Pakistan needed in its shorter versions and he has finally gotten his break now

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Savak View Post
    I don't entirely agree with this. If you have Yuvraj Singh talent, backing or not, you cannot go unnoticed for long. Look at Kushdil Shah, for years he was making noise about being the power hitter and finisher Pakistan needed in its shorter versions and he has finally gotten his break now
    What about countless Khushdil Shah who went unnoticed , There was a guy about a decade ago from Karachi his name was Syed Fawad Ali , he used to score 100s for fun in first U19 zone cricket then in to Grade II cricket , He never played a single FC game nor he selected for Pak U19s. He is stopped playing altogether now.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by muhammad saad View Post
    What about countless Khushdil Shah who went unnoticed , There was a guy about a decade ago from Karachi his name was Syed Fawad Ali , he used to score 100s for fun in first U19 zone cricket then in to Grade II cricket , He never played a single FC game nor he selected for Pak U19s. He is stopped playing altogether now.
    He's from Karachi, ofcourse

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Savak View Post
    I don't entirely agree with this. If you have Yuvraj Singh talent, backing or not, you cannot go unnoticed for long. Look at Kushdil Shah, for years he was making noise about being the power hitter and finisher Pakistan needed in its shorter versions and he has finally gotten his break now

    I see what you mean but a lot of players develop at different times and some need more games.

    I am not worried about the players who are already playing first class cricket, am worried about the players at club cricket and lower levels, who have talent and not been given chances so they quit cricket.

    Thatís were the problem lies.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Savak View Post
    I don't entirely agree with this. If you have Yuvraj Singh talent, backing or not, you cannot go unnoticed for long. Look at Kushdil Shah, for years he was making noise about being the power hitter and finisher Pakistan needed in its shorter versions and he has finally gotten his break now
    You need either luck by being in the right place at the right time, or sifarish, or a lot of talent.

    Lets hope things change.
    Last edited by Saj; 30th October 2019 at 22:55.



  15. #15
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    Zeeshan Ashraf was unlucky to miss his century by six runs (made 94). Zeeshan was ruthless in his 112-ball innings, clubbing nine fours and six sixes for Southern Punjab vs KP


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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by MenInG View Post
    Zeeshan Ashraf was unlucky to miss his century by six runs (made 94). Zeeshan was ruthless in his 112-ball innings, clubbing nine fours and six sixes for Southern Punjab vs KP
    Continues to do well - cannot be ignored now by Pakistan selectors.


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  17. #17
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    Upcoming PSL draft can be really important to speed up his career. If he gets selected in PSL and performs at that stage with pressure, expectations and such a big audience on TV, radio and stadium he can come into limelight straight away.

  18. #18
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    Zeeshan Ashraf made 100 in 173b, 250 mins, 4x14, 6x2 in Round 9 of QEA


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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Titan24 View Post
    Upcoming PSL draft can be really important to speed up his career. If he gets selected in PSL and performs at that stage with pressure, expectations and such a big audience on TV, radio and stadium he can come into limelight straight away.
    Today Commentators where mentioning his name that 2 psl franchise's are keen to pick him .l

    Watched today his inning he looks very good batsmen

  20. #20
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  21. #21
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    Pakistan great Saeed Anwar advises young gun Zeeshan Ashraf to never check his strongest shot

    Never check your strongest shot even when you are facing the first ball, is what legendary Pakistan batsman Saeed Anwar told Zeeshan Ashraf when the upcoming talent sought his advise.

    Zeeshan, a stockily built southpaw opener, is gradually rising through the ranks of Pakistan cricket. After making an impact in the ongoing domestic season, Zeeshan is likely to compete in the Pakistan Super League.

    "I met Saeed bhai when he came down to Okara for a religious congregation and I asked him what was the one advice he would give me to become a successful batsman. He said never check your strongest shot even if it is on the first ball you face because that is how you will always get runs," Zeeshan recalled.

    Since then, Zeeshan has been watching hours of videos of Saeed and other top left handers suchb as Brian Lara and Matthew Hayden and tried to replicate their shots.

    "In my early years I was my own coach and I just watched these videos and tried to play the same shots when I trained and had nets," he said.

    Zeeshan, who scored his first class century for Southern Punjab in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy on Monday, caught the attention of experts while playing for the same team in the division two non-first class championship where he scored a ton of runs with ease.

    And before being promoted to division one, he had already made an impact by becoming the best batsman of the national T20 championship in Faisalabad.

    "I know it has been a great season and I know some franchises are keen to sign me but for me the ultimate goal is to play for my country because without Pakistan what are we?," he said.

    https://www.business-standard.com/ar...2501134_1.html


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  22. #22
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  23. #23
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    Stupid advice, if Babar had reigned himself in for first 30-40 balls in the first innings we would have scored 400 he went for his bread and butter cover drive before getting in and paid the price.

  24. #24
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    141 for Southern Punjab vs Central Punjab.


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  25. #25
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    Pakistan Super League

    Well I won’t lie, I would love to play for Multan Sultans in the Pakistan Super League. After all they are my local team, but I’d be more than happy to play for any team if given the chance.


    ===

    Welcome to Multan Sultans Zeeshan!


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  26. #26
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    Excellent pick .Hopefully this will improve his game further

  27. #27
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    Looks like in amazing form. Could be a wild card pick for Pakistan.

  28. #28
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    Hope he makes the most of it.

  29. #29
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    Talking about Zeeshan Ashraf for sure

  30. #30
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    He looks impressive in his highlights package in this thread. Can I please ask how strong is his offside game? Can he read length and play off drives and inside out shots well? Thanks

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by KingOfPakBreakfast View Post
    He looks impressive in his highlights package in this thread. Can I please ask how strong is his offside game? Can he read length and play off drives and inside out shots well? Thanks



    Very good player of offside,
    Last edited by MenInG; 31st December 2019 at 19:14.

  32. #32
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    Salman butt was praising him in some sport show


    Zeeshan in an interview said that he has stated his real age unlike other cricketers

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by shah_1 View Post



    Talking about Zeeshan Ashraf for sure
    We spoke with Ali Tareen and he said they have many options which they are considering.


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  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by shah_1 View Post
    [



    Very good player of offside,
    Thank you
    Last edited by MenInG; 31st December 2019 at 19:39.

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by MenInG View Post
    We spoke with Ali Tareen and he said they have many options which they are considering.
    Mohammad Irfan, Shahid Afridi, James Vince, Junaid Khan, Moeen Ali, Rilee Rossouw, Zeeshan Ashraf, Ravi Bopara, Sohail Tanvir, Shaan Masood, Ali Shafiq, Khushdil Shah, Usman Qadir, Fabian Allen, Mohammad Ilyas, Rohail Nazir, Imran Tahir, Bilawal Bhatti.


    Apart from Zeeshan, all lefties have played for Pakistan

    It makes perfect sense for Ali to support a player from South Punjab

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by shah_1 View Post


    Very good player of offside,
    A lot of good traits but, I think he needs to work a bit on his footwork against pacers on offside. His front foot stride while playing on off side is a bit smaller on occasions which makes him play some shots (Which are definitely on) bit away from body. Can cause him problems if the ball is moving a bit in the longer formats.

    I hope he improves that as otherwise his hand eye coordination looks pretty good.

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Titan24 View Post
    A lot of good traits but, I think he needs to work a bit on his footwork against pacers on offside. His front foot stride while playing on off side is a bit smaller on occasions which makes him play some shots (Which are definitely on) bit away from body. Can cause him problems if the ball is moving a bit in the longer formats.

    I hope he improves that as otherwise his hand eye coordination looks pretty good.
    He is ideal for white ball cricket(99% of the pitches are flat) becauee of his ablity to play on both sides.


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