Fakhar Zaman (above) said Shoaib Malik had boosted the team's morale with his inspirational talk after morale-shattering loss against the arch-rivals in the tournament opener © Getty Images
Fakhar Zaman (above) said Shoaib Malik had boosted the team’s morale with his inspirational talk after morale-shattering loss against the arch-rivals in the tournament opener © Getty Images

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 it’s 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 today to a hero’s welcome from where he journeyed by road to Mardan, his birth place. FULL CRICKET SCORECARD: India vs Pakistan, ICC Champions Trophy 2017 – Final at The Oval

“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. Aamer set to debut for Essex in English county

“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. Sangakkara hails Zaman, Aamer post Pakistan’s victory over India in ICC Champions Trophy 2017 final

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.