Sharjeel aims to do well in South Africa

By our correspondent

KARACHI: Pakistan’s left-handed opener Sharjeel Khan on Tuesday faced a volley of questions regarding his fitness during a news conference. He was also asked that head coach Misbah-ul-Haq had also opposed his selection in the T20 squad for South Africa series because of his fitness issues.
However Sharjeel, who made a comeback to the national T20 side after a gap of three years said that there is no such thing.
“There is no such thing that anyone has opposed my selection. My fitness is not that bad which should be so much highlighted. I have played consistently for seven months at domestic level, for around 57 to 60 playing days. Yes I am working hard and trying to achieve the required bench mark,” Sharjeel said.
“Fitness is not everything, skills are also counted. Yes for utilising skills effectively you need fitness. Every player has his own fitness requirement and I am focusing on my own fitness and aim to bring it at par with other players of the national team. I am doing specific drills under our trainer Yasir and hopefully I will achieve my goal,” Sharjeel said.
Sharjeel said that he aims to click with the bat in South Africa.
“My focus is on T20 series against Proteas as I have been selected for that. I want to contribute with the bat and want to help Pakistan win matches through my input. As T20 will be preceded by one-day series so I will try to assess the situation and then bat accordingly in the T20 series because this is my first South Africa tour and I would like to perform for the country in the same way I had been performing,” Sharjeel said.
When asked whether he would rely on his pull and hooks as his strong area, Sharjeel said he always try to play on merit.
“I don’t think so that hook and pull are my strong areas and I should benefit of these. I always bat on merit because if you rely on only specific shots then you would face issues on the deliveries which pitch on different spots. So I try to play the ball on merit and play my natural game,” Sharjeel said.
Asked he has been seen facing issues on the balls which pitch on the off-stump and slightly move away Sharjeel said he does not feel that he has an issue in tackling such deliveries.
“I don’t think so as in domestic season, particularly, in four-day cricket I have not lost my wicket in that zone more times. In four-day cricket ball is swinging on the entire day,” Sharjeel was quick to add.
He rubbished the impression that he would have been treated shabbily on his return to national team following a ban due to negative reasons.
“There is no such thing. I was welcomed warmly by the players and team management and I am enjoying my presence in the squad. Mostly the players of the national squad have been playing with me for the last one and a half year and there was no such issue,” Sharjeel said. He said that he sets small targets, adding, he is currently focusing on training and would set a target when he would reach South Africa.
Sharjeel played his last T20 against England on September 7, 2017. Pakistan are set to fly out of Lahore for South Africa on March 26 to play three-match ODI and four-match T20 series which will begin with the first ODI in Pretoria on April 2.