Dubai: Faheem Ashraf is fast emerging as Pakistan’s finest all-rounder. The left-handed batsman who bowls right-arm medium pace worked out for long hours in the nets at the ICC Academy on Wednesday evening and wants to be at his best in the Asia Cup from the first match against Hong Kong on Sunday.
“My job is to work hard and perform well, it’s the job of the coaches and others to pick me for the playing XI,” said Ashraf, who produced his first five-wicket spell in ODIs in Pakistan’s last series against Zimbabwe at Bulawayo.
“As a player, I always want to take five wickets but it depends on my performance on that day,” Ashraf said, who only made his ODI debut for Pakistan in June 2017 but has played now in all three formats.
Ashraf is happy that his team have arrived for the Asia Cup after extensive preparations. “Before the Lahore training camp, we also trained hard in Abbottabad with the Army. Following Abbottabad, we trained in hot weather in Lahore so that it would be easier to adjust to the heat of Dubai,” he said.
Twenty-four-year-old Ashraf was also made to sweat during an intense fitness training session before his time batting and bowling in the nets. “We are trying to get used to the conditions here as soon as possible so that we don’t have problems in our first match,” he said.
Ashraf is more used than most to the conditions here having played in the Pakistan Super League and also for Pakistan in ODIs and T20 Internationals here. “We play all our series here so it is an advantage for us, but this is a big event, and there is a lot of pressure and we will give our hundred per cent to all matches,” he said.
Ashraf is now eagerly waiting to play against arch rivals India on September 19. “Every player on the team dreams of playing against India and performing well, I hope I can also get this chance,” he said.
When asked whether Pakistan finds the absence of Virat Kohli a huge advantage, he said: “Even without Virat Kohli, India are a world-class team and no one can take them lightly. We are putting in our hundred per cent, in all departments be it batting, bowling or fielding. Our job is to give our best and then we have every chance of winning.”
Ashraf then went on to reveals that the team’s focus is on their first match. “We will focus to win over Hong Kong in the first match after that match we will work out our strategy against India. We had a successful tour of Zimbabwe and we will try to continue our good run during the Asia Cup as well,” said Ashraf, who leapt from D to B category in Pakistan’s central contract list.