Fakhar Zaman en route to his maiden century (Image courtesy: Getty Images)
Fakhar Zaman en route to his maiden century (Image courtesy: Getty Images)

Fakhar Zaman, a name Indian cricket fans will remember for a long time. India were favourites to lift the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 on June 18 at The Oval. Zaman’s maiden ODI ton crushed Indian hopes as Pakistan trumped them in the grand finale to lift the Champions Trophy for the first time. Zaman, who slammed 114 from 106 balls, was caught off a no-ball off Jasprit Bumrah early in his innings. ALSO READ: Fakhar Zaman disappointed by MS Dhoni’s lack of enthusiasm

In a recent interview with First Post, the southpaw revealed that he was sledged by Indian skipper Virat Kohli and Jasprit Bumrah during his innings. Zaman said: “There was a lot of chatter when Azhar Ali and I were at the crease. Virat was constantly saying, ‘Arre, ek wicket nikal jayega toh yeh saare out ho jaayenge. Bas ek ko nikaalo jaldi’ (If we get one wicket, the rest will collapse).” Recalling his dismissal off no-ball, Zaman added, “Bumrah had me caught behind, but it was off a no ball. So, he was also very vocal. On one occasion, he said, ‘Thoda saamne bhi run banaa le. Kab tak aise khelega? (Make some runs in front of the wicket. How long are you going to play like this?).”

The 27-year-old made it clear that the Indians did not cross the line when it came to sledging and there was nothing said which was personal.

“But to be honest, the Indian players didn’t cross any line. Actually, that was purely cricket-related and positive sledging, which is fine. Everyone wants to see his team win and they do their best to achieve that,” said Zaman.

Younis Khan’s message

He admitted that his life has changed post Champions Trophy as people treat him like a “hero” and how everyone wants to get “selfies” with him. He even had to keep him homecoming a secret to prevent being mobbed. However, it is Younis Khan’s message that has helped the cricketer remain rooted to himself.

“I spoke to Younis bhai five days ago. We spoke for around 30 minutes. He told me how to handle this sudden change in my cricketing life. Actually, his advice to me was that this fame is nothing but an illusion, and it could lead me to disaster. I have to always keep my feet on the ground. He said everyone, including the media is praising me now, but the same people will criticise me in the future if I fail. I should be ready to face that too. So, I have to play even better to prove that my knock in the Champions Trophy was not a fluke. Every word Younis bhai said to me is still buzzing in my ears,” added the former sailor with Pakistan Navy.