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  1. #1
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    "It's a dream come true to be playing in the Pakistan Super League" : Zeeshan Ashraf

    The upcoming fifth season of the Pakistan Super League promises to be yet another exciting and entertainment-filled tournament which has established itself as one of the top Twenty20 Leagues in the word of cricket. Whilst the participating well-established local and international players will look to further enhance their reputations as top-quality performers, the eyes of the world and especially supporters of Pakistan cricket will be firmly on the performances of emerging talents. In this regard, the talent embodied by Multan Sultans Zeeshan Ashraf will be one to watch and savour for the lovers of the game and in an exclusive interview with PakPassion.net, the 27-year-old opener explained why he was looking forward to his debut season at the PSL where he will have a chance to play in front of thousands of doting home-fans.


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    ďIím absolutely delighted to be playing my first Pakistan Super League tournament and what makes it extra special and an even bigger honour for me is that my debut will be in the first PSL which is to be played entirely in front of my home crowds and countrymen. One could not wish for a better introduction than this to the PSL, playing in front of thousands of your countryfolk in packed stadiums and with millions around the world watching.Ē

    Multan Sultans were the sixth team to be introduced to the PSL in 2018 and wasted no time in showing the rest of the competitors that they meant business by putting in an excellent display in the initial stages of the tournament. With maturity gained from their second season in 2019, and a well-balanced squad which seems to have just the right proportion of youth and experience chosen for the next edition of the tournament, the Sultans in Zeeshan Ashrafís words are all set for the challenge ahead, ďI feel that Multan Sultans have a very balanced squad, made up of some excellent youngsters such as Ali Shafiq, Rohail Nazir and Mohammad Ilyas. I think youngsters play a crucial part in how a team does in the PSL and I think Sultans are well served in the young player department. In addition, we have some battle-hardened Twenty20 players who have played all over the world such as Shahid Afridi, Junaid Khan, Ravi Bopara and Moeen Ali who I am sure will lift the younger players during the tournament. The balance has to be right between younger players and experienced players and I think Multan has the right balance.Ē

    Zeeshan Ashraf comes to the PSL on the back of some robust performances in the ongoing domestic season where he was the top-scoring batsmen for Southern Punjab in the National T20 Cup 2nd XI tournament with 395 runs in 7 games. This should represent the ideal background for the challenges that lie ahead in the PSL where he will come across some top competitors. This is also an opportunity he is looking forward to with eager anticipation and feels that the experience of coach Andy Flower will be crucial for his personal growth as well.

    ďMy preparations have gone well for the Pakistan Super League, Iíve been training hard, playing some club cricket and have lost weight and feel a lot fitter and stronger. Iíve been working a lot on strength and conditioning and feel fitter than I have ever felt. Iím particularly looking forward to working with Andy Flower who is a legend and a fellow left-handed batsman. I feel that the PSL is a fantastic opportunity for me to learn from a great batsman like Andy Flower and tap into his knowledge and experience. Itís not every day that you get the chance to work with someone like Flower and I intend to make the most of this opportunity.Ē

    With his first season in a world-class Twenty20 League looming on the horizon, it would be natural for some anxiety to creep into the head of the Okara-born southpaw, but Ashraf is keeping his feet firmly on the ground and concentrating on ensuring that he does the basics right and sticks to his natural style of play as he explained, ďI donít want to set myself any targets and put pressure on myself, but I am hopeful of showing everyone what I can do as an attacking batsman. I know what my strengths are, and I intend to play accordingly to those strengths. My mindset is to treat PSL like any other domestic Twenty20 tournament and not to build pressure on myself. My domestic and local coaches have told me to play my natural game and not to change my batting style just because itís the PSL and my family and friends have been praying for my success which is very important to me.Ē

    Shadab Khan, Hassan Ali and Mohammad Hasnain are some of the names that can thank PSL for their rapid rise and itís an established fact that the PCB look at performances in the tournament to identify future talents for the Pakistan team. Like others, Zeeshan Ashraf is keenly aware that good performances in the PSL will not only be appreciated by crowds and sponsors, but also noticed by national selectors. Whether his performances result in a place in the Pakistan side is something only time will tell but for the moment, he is aware of what is expected of him and is focussed on doing well for Multan Sultans and happy to take things as they come, ďAll the players are aware that the PSL presents cricketers with an opportunity to impress the national selectors and everyone is aware that in previous tournaments players who were not that well-known became famous very quickly after doing well in the Pakistan Super League. Itís an opportunity like no other where everyone is watching your performances and if you can do well then playing for your country can be a possibility. But Iím not looking too far ahead, I am just happy to be a part of the PSL and I want to do well for my team and not let anyone down and then we will see what happens next.Ē

    The selection for Multan Sultans is a special opportunity for Zeeshan Ashraf to showcase his skills to the world and the batsman is aware of the hard yards that he has had to put in, and the sacrifices he has had to make to get to this stage in his career. Whilst he is excited about the opportunity to represent Multan Sultans, he also has some special words of encouragement for fellow players who have worked hard but could not get a place in any PSL team, "I'd be lying if I didn't say that this was a dream come true for me as I have faced some hard times and very tough days in my cricket career so far. I'm honoured, excited and delighted to be playing in my first Pakistan Super League tournament, but at the same time I pray for the future and well-being of those players in Pakistan who have not been picked for the PSL or domestic cricket."
    Last edited by MenInG; 14th February 2020 at 00:52.


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  2. #2
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    Just looked at his stats. No wonder we produce not so good batsman these days
    Last edited by MenInG; 14th February 2020 at 10:37.

  3. #3
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    Lost some weight and got fit at 27 years of age!


    Waiting for the day when there will be no p....i player in a green shirt

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by hur rizvi View Post
    Just looked at his stats. No wonder we produce not so good batsman these days
    Please put down the T20 Stats that caught your attention so we can discuss.


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  5. #5
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    Had an amazing season for 2nd XI, got chance for the first XI at the end of QAE and performed there too. He is rated in the cricketing circle that is why MS bought him in the diamond category. Naturally a free flowing player, hopefully will give a good competition to Fakhar and Sharjeel as an aggressive top order batsman.

  6. #6
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    He has been in very good form this season.

    Hopefully he can step up in a tougher environment.

    Some may be critical of his career T20 stats, but it seems he has improved as a player as he scored on first class also.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by MenInG View Post
    Please put down the T20 Stats that caught your attention so we can discuss.
    Average of 19 with just 1, 50+ score. Hasnít achieved anything as a 28 year old. Should have rather gone for his namesake Zeeshan Malik

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by hur rizvi View Post
    Average of 19 with just 1, 50+ score. Hasn’t achieved anything as a 28 year old. Should have rather gone for his namesake Zeeshan Malik
    Was the top run scorer with an average of 65 and at a SR of 175 in 2nd XI National T20 cup 2019. As it was for 2nd XI the stats didnt count in his T20 career.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Titan24 View Post
    Was the top run scorer with an average of 65 and at a SR of 175 in 2nd XI National T20 cup 2019. As it was for 2nd XI the stats didnt count in his T20 career.
    Still an awful pick as 2nd XI matches are of really bad quality and doesnít make up for such bad career stats. I wonít be amazed if he has an awful PSL. I have seen him bat and never looked like a decent batsman

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by hur rizvi View Post
    Still an awful pick as 2nd XI matches are of really bad quality and doesn’t make up for such bad career stats. I won’t be amazed if he has an awful PSL. I have seen him bat and never looked like a decent batsman
    Well to be honest most of the players playing in 2nd XI used to be regulars in previous domestic structure for their sides and some of them played for their regional teams in this season as in other formats. Raza Hassan, Zia Ul Haq, Usama Mir, Ehsan Adil, Sameen Gul, Nauman Ali etc are few of the names in the top 10 wicket takers so it manifests that even the 2nd XI tournament had decent quality.

    Also not to forget that he wasnt only the best batsman but looked like in a different league as an average of 65 and SR of 175 suggest.

    Though will have to see how he handles the big stage of PSL and whether he can transfer his form.

  11. #11
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    Great chance for him to shine and prove the doubters wrong.

    It'll be tough and a huge jump in the quality of cricket, but he has nothing to lose.



  12. #12
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    He played four FC matches this season, scored 505 with an average of 72.14 with two hundreds and 3 fifties.

    The coaches must have seen something to pick him as wild card(promoted to diamond category) otherwise why would they waste their money on him, surely they know more than @hur rizvi.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by shah_1 View Post
    He played four FC matches this season, scored 505 with an average of 72.14 with two hundreds and 3 fifties.

    The coaches must have seen something to pick him as wild card(promoted to diamond category) otherwise why would they waste their money on him, surely they know more than @hur rizvi.
    I know nothing but I am not convinced by his overall career stats at all. Stats do carry immense weight and I donít remember any batsman succeeding for Pakistan with such below par career stats.

    Letís see what he can deliver, I would be happy if he proves me wrong

  14. #14
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    He is keeping for MS today. Wasn't expecting that. Wonder how his glovework is.


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  15. #15
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    He's got a good technique and has the ability to hit sixes. I like this guy.

  16. #16
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    Bat speed is really good.
    Bit like Sharjeel

  17. #17
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    Good stuff so far - seems to be settling in well in this innings vs IU


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  18. #18
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    He shud be opening.

  19. #19
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    Impressive knock after he got in. Played good front foot shots along with a six against a decent short ball and a cheeky scoop for four. He is keeping as well for MS so definitely a prospect.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by hur rizvi View Post
    Still an awful pick as 2nd XI matches are of really bad quality and doesn’t make up for such bad career stats. I won’t be amazed if he has an awful PSL. I have seen him bat and never looked like a decent batsman
    Need more of your analysis


  21. #21
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    Interviewed well after an excellent innings. If he can play spin( which on todays evidence worries me), he could make a decent 5.

  22. #22
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    He isn't a leg side hack, that's good start.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by shah_1 View Post
    He isn't a leg side hack, that's good start.
    Asif zia is in the sultans right

  24. #24
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    He looks good player gives himself a few balls to get his eye in and a natural stroke maker and also like he has the temperament and from his keeping looks decent enough

  25. #25
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    His first home match in the PSL?!!


    "If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles"

  26. #26
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    He looks in same mould as Haris Sohail. Ashraf shows to have a lot of time. His dug up off Wahab Riaz yorker went for 4. Similar bowling to Kamran Akmal or Shan Masood would've yielded Riaz not more than 6-8 off the over. Ashraf literally bashed him at will like he is a club bowler bowling him in the nets hitting himfor 3 consecutive boundaries. Just made 12 runs but showed a lot of promise. Bonus is Ashraf is also a decent wicketkeeper. He and Haider Ali both were impressive in this match.

  27. #27
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    Looks self-assured - needs one big score in PSL to get him sorted


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  28. #28
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    Really tough to bat as ball is not coming quick. Batsmen having timing issues.

    Zeeshan Ashraf is squandering opportunities he is getting. He was complaining that he is opener he needs to bat up the order. Multan made him open and he is getting out pretty cheaply. If he doesn't perform than there is no use to brag about his talent.

  29. #29
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    I am afraid that might be the limit of his dreams.

  30. #30
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    Typical Pakistani domestic FTBs , they are exposed the moment they face international standard bowling,

  31. #31
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    I like him. Think he is 2 years away from international debut. He really needs to focus on domestic cricket.

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by gazza619 View Post
    I like him. Think he is 2 years away from international debut. He really needs to focus on domestic cricket.
    I take back that post. He played a very ugly knock today. The way he tried to slog Steyn on the very first ball showed he has zero game and bowler awareness.

    Hope he proves me wrong though.

  33. #33
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    What do we make of him?

    International class?



  34. #34
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    Looked poor against pace. Might be his off day, but struggled against Wahab, Hasan and Rahat. Smashed the spinners though.

    If you struggle against pace then playing in Australia is a big no no.


    "You aren't a failure if you fail, you are a failure if you don't get up to try again" - Imran Khan.

  35. #35
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    Zeeshan Ashraf speaking to the media:

    "I believe I have come into contention for selection (in the national side) and after working harder, I will make that a firm chance for myself too"

    "I was best batsman in Karachi in the 2nd XI T20 tournament and this is a lucky ground for me; I scored a good fifty to help my side win and also kept well and I am not convinced that NSK is my lucky ground"

    "It alsmost felt like we were playing domestic cricket due to lack of crowd but this is due to a situation which we all know about; I have yet to play a domestic game like this and the quality of cricket made us feek that this was a proper PSL game"

    "Every player wants to play the World Cup - this is also my wish too; I was a little worried that I wasnt performing that well; There other openers also not performing that well; I wanted to perform in a way that my team won and that happened today"

    "Before PSL I was a little worried about how I will be able to adjust to the atmosphere in this tournament; After I played the first game, I got to understand that playing bowling here was the same as I was used to in domestic so I am fine now"

    Who is your favourite batsman

    "Sharjeel Khan"

    Why were you smiling in the last over

    "Ali Shafiq bowled really well before and after 6 runs were left to save, I was smiling to myself wondering if Ali has taken on extra pressure"


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  36. #36
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    I didnt watch todayís game but last time I watched him bat he tried to play an ugly hack off Steyn on the very first ball he faced. That is enough for me to know he aint that intelligent as a batsman.

    Sorry, dont rate him.

  37. #37
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    These upcoming games will tell us if he has it in him.

  38. #38
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    Decent bat but heís definitely older than the age heís claimed to be.

  39. #39
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    His attitude seems a bit too self appreciative from what Iíve heard in a couple of interviews. Players like that usually donít succeed once they get a bit of success.

    Anyway, he has some talent but a long way to go before heís ready for international. Itís a shame, because we really lack a limited overs keeper right now.

    Looks like it will have to be one of Rizwan or Sarfraz. Neither should be playing but given the lack of options Sarfraz wins it comfortably.

  40. #40
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    Zeeshan reckons he has strong case for world cup squad interesting comment

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by sshakir411 View Post
    Decent bat but heís definitely older than the age heís claimed to be.
    You think he's older than 27?

  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by sshakir411 View Post
    Decent bat but he’s definitely older than the age he’s claimed to be.
    In one of his press conferences in the QEA Trophy, he actually alluded to the fact that various other players have faked their ages and said his age was one of the legitimate ones.

    Another failure today, an average of 19ish is not really good enough considering how the top batsmen have fared this season.


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  43. #43
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    He's not international standard yet. He shouldn't be on that flight to Australia

  44. #44
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    Awful dismissal today. Premeditating and caught out


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