Pakistan and Islamabad United all-rounder Faheem Ashraf answered his critics – especially online trolls – in great style after a match-winning effort in the opening clash of PSL 2019.
Ashraf has been under the scanner for some time as questions have been raised about his exact role. Ashraf was not picked for the first two Test during the recent tour of South Africa but when he was selected for the third, picked up six wickets. He played two ODIs and as many T20, hitting some form in the third and final T20.
However his all-round skills are still the target of many critics. On Thursday, Ashraf chose the perfect way to silence his critics as he starred with the ball and bat to lead Islamabad to a fine win over Lahore Qalandars.
Batting first, Lahore seemed set for a score of around 200 after a blazing start by Fakhar Zaman but Ashraf put brakes on the scoring, giving away just 24 runs in his four overs and picking up the wickets of opener Sohail Akhtar and the dangerous Carlos Brathwaite.
In the chase, Islamabad were rocked early with left-arm seamer Rahat Ali picking up three wickets in the sixth over. But counter-attacking knocks by Asif Ali (36* off 19 balls) and Ashraf (23* off 11) took them to the target of 172 with five wickets in hand.
After the match, Ashraf said he learned a lot during the difficult tour of South Africa: ” Cricket is not easy. It was a difficult tour of South Africa but it was a learning curve. I got to work on my batting and bowling.”
He then took to social media and used an image of him – which had been altered with the words ‘Can’t bat can’t bowl too’ on his shirt – with the following message: “Terrific win. Really happy to contribute with both bat and ball. It was a team effort, thank you everyone for your support.”
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