India v Pakistan, Champions Trophy, final, The Oval June 18, 2017

Zaman feared he would miss final

16

Fakhar Zaman told the Pakistan physio he didn't think he would be fit to play the night before the Champions Trophy final.

Zaman, who was awarded the Man of the Match award for his aggressive century, pulled out of training on Saturday after feeling unwell. He subsequently vomited several times and, having returned to the team hotel, informed the Pakistan medical staff that he would have to miss the game.

But having been given him medication to settle his stomach - a Pakistan team spokesman suggested Zaman was suffering from a combination of an adverse reaction to something he had eaten and an attack of nerves before the biggest match of his career - Zaman slept soundly and reported himself fit to play at 7am on the morning of the match.

"When we came for practise I wasn't feeling good," Zaman told ESPNcricinfo. "I hit five or 10 balls and said to the coach, 'I don't want to practise today as I'm not feeling well.'

"I went back to the dressing room and told the masseur and physio that I didn't feel good and couldn't work.

"We went back to the hotel and they treated me very well. Our physio, Shane Hayes, was with me the whole night. I said to him, 'I can't play tomorrow,' but he gave me protein and glucose tablets and said 'You will play tomorrow.'

"I woke in the morning feeling good. I sent him a message at 7am saying, 'Thanks, Shane. I'm feeling good.'"

If Zaman was suffering from nerves, it is hardly surprising. He made his ODI debut less than two weeks ago and then found himself in a global tournament final against his side's arch rivals and in front of a TV audience of hundreds of millions.

Certainly in the first few minutes of his innings, those nerves were apparent. He survived an edged catch to MS Dhoni when he had scored just 3 but was reprieved when it transpired Jasprit Bumrah had overstepped.

Gradually, however, he gained in confidence and started to dismantle the India attack

"I'm feeling very lucky," he said. "It worked really well for me. Sometimes you get dropped or survive because of a no-ball but you don't go on and score too many runs.

"At the start they were bowling very well. So I tried to play ball-to-ball. But when I saw there was no swing or movement off the wicket, I started to play my shots."

Meanwhile, Zaman's opening partner Azhar Ali described himself as "the most relieved man" after Virat Kohli fell to a catch at point the ball after Azhar had dropped him at slip off the bowling of Mohammad Amir.

"Dropping him was a really big disappointment," he said. "He's the guy who chases for fun. He's the best in the world. I was the most relieved man when he was out next ball. That sort of batsman never gets out twice in two balls, so it was a blessing form the Almighty. I was very relieved.

"Amir did really well. He is a quality bowler and he can get anyone out. It was so important to get early wickets."

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Mutukisna on June 20, 2017, 12:38 GMT

    I thought he is only 21. Where was he for 27 years? Pakistan need their talent scouts to get their acts together! I am sure there are many more outside the main cities. Fakhar, well done and all the best for the future. I am not a Pakistan fan but a cricket lover.

  • irfancricfan on June 19, 2017, 16:36 GMT

    well done fakhar. But alot of work do this guy with his awkward technique against short ball and seaming from middle stump. Other wise you will be next Imran Nazeer

  •   cricfan55303474 on June 19, 2017, 11:40 GMT

    Same as Inzamam in 92 world cup semi final and he was man of the match proud of you fakhar

  • sonubrar7 on June 19, 2017, 8:02 GMT

    Fakhar was the man who changed team's psyche & help them to come in real form that was aggression.I want pak to thrash every team even I'm from India

  • Imthiyaz_Haniffa on June 19, 2017, 7:55 GMT

    Welcome to a new era of Pakistan Cricket..... So many promising youngsters. I was impressed with Fakhar's first innings itself and told my Pakistan friends that he's the man to watch who can be another blasting performer. Then he followed with 2 50+s and here turned the table and contributed to Pakistan Cricket their most awaited title. Well done everyone...... Congratulations to Pakistan ....!

  •   Muhammad Amjad on June 19, 2017, 7:09 GMT

    Great contributions in winning cause.. Hope you will carry on this form to take your team on tops.....

  • Punjabiguy on June 19, 2017, 5:41 GMT

    Fakhar is next saeed Anwar. He improve with time goes on.

  • mohddar on June 19, 2017, 5:39 GMT

    As Rahul Dravid has correctly said. Zaman will be the man to dismantle bowlers for years to come. He is a great striker of white ball.

  • CricketUnitesUS on June 19, 2017, 4:13 GMT

    He has 51+ list A average, he can be Warner/ Shewag of Pakistan. what a find.

  • A.Rahman on June 18, 2017, 23:14 GMT

    The problem with Zaman would be like others. He will perish in 2 years time ! His batting technique is similar to Afridi and he will go off form very soon with opposition bolwer will target him as their first wicket to a collapse.

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