I work hard to attain my goals: Zeeshan Malik
The ongoing National T20 Cup for First XIs has brought exciting up and coming cricketers to the limelight. One of them who has left an indelible mark after the first 10 matches is Northern’s opening batsman Zeeshan Malik.
The 23-year-old right-handed batsman is leading the list for the tournament’s highest run-getters, something that he had been planning since he was named in the 16-player squad of the defending champions.
He now sits at the top of that chart with 192 runs – which include two half-centuries – at an average of 48. He has struck 21 fours, which are the most for any batsman in the tournament, to date.
That Northern have had a perfect start to the tournament and lead the points table is due to the solid foundation they have been provided courtesy their young top-order.
Zeeshan, who likes to cut and drive the ball, smashed a remarkable 47-ball 77 in the opening match of the tournament against Khyber Pakhtunkhwa over the course of which he rewrote the history books, setting the highest stand for the second wicket (180) in the history of the National T20 Cup with Haider Ali.
Three matches later, on 4 October against Sindh, Zeeshan bettered his career statistics as he recorded his best score in T20 cricket with a swashbuckling 84 off 52 balls that set Northern’s 13-run win.
“If your half-century contributes to your team’s win it means a lot more than a century in a losing cause,” Zeeshan said. “I have really enjoyed batting in Multan and I hope to continue my form in the Rawalpindi-leg.
“My aim is to finish among the top run-getters for the tournament and I would continue to work hard to ensure I finish the tournament on a high. I do not compromise on my goals. I have the temperament to work really hard in their pursuit and will continue to do so in the future.”
Zeeshan had created an impression on his coach Mohammad Wasim and team management with a brilliant 216 during Northern’s first-class Quaid-e-Azam Trophy tournament fixture against Southern Punjab at the Jinnah Stadium, Sialkot, last season. This was his maiden century in the format.
In 16 first-class matches, to date, he has scored 1,032 runs – which also include six half-centuries - at an average 0f 33.29.
Zeeshan featured for Northern’s Second XI side in the last season’s National T20 Cup and his penchant for scoring freely across the dial and ability to hit the ball further added to his credentials and, as such, he was named in the ‘A’ category of the domestic central contracts for the 2020-21 season.
“My team, Northern, has played a significant role in my development as a batsman,” said Zeeshan. “Our coach Mohammad Wasim has put a great faith in me by promoting me to the First XI team and I look to repay it with my performances.”
Zeeshan started his journey as a cricketer when he represented Rawalpindi U16 in December 2012 in Pepsi PCB Cricket Stars U16s Tournament.
He toured England with Pakistan U17 team in August 2014 before featuring for Pakistan U19 side against Afghanistan and Kenya at home later that year. In 2016, he featured in the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup, in which the national team finished at the fifth position.
“AB de Villiers is my favourite international batsman, while I really admire the batting style of Mohammad Hafeez. My aim is to represent Pakistan and I will continue to strive hard to attain this goal.”