LAHORE: Middle-order batsman Asad Shafiq has said he and Azhar Ali are trying to fill the place left by former captains Misbah-ul-Haq and Younis Khan with the hard work and consistent performances.
“I admit that Azhar Ali and I haven’t played that many big innings which Misbah and Younis used to play. However, we know that after their retirement, we have to take the responsibility and we are working hard to fill that gap,” he said while speaking to the media at Gaddafi Stadium.
Responding to a question about a separate captain for Tests, Shafiq said that the matter was to be decided by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) whether they want to change the captain or not.
“Nobody knows who is going to be the captain as this is up to the cricket board,” Shafiq said. “At the moment Sarfaraz is our captain and he has our support.”
Shafiq added the players were focusing on improving their fitness and learning a lot under Misbah’s supervision. “Misbah is very cooperative, however, one would need to give their 100 per cent,” the batsman said.
He rejected the notion that Misbah was too strict to become the team’s new head coach as he appeared to back the latter’s candidacy for the vacant position.
“I have played with Misbah for five to six years and I never found him too strict. He doesn’t compromise on some things which he should,” he said.
“He doesn’t compromise on the fitness and even here he is working us hard. He also sits with the juniors and teaches us. He is very cooperative if you give your 100 per cent,” the 33-year-old added.
Responding to another question regarding his low average in Tests which is 38.94, Shafiq said the lack of runs has more to do with his batting position, which would improve as he bats higher in the coming matches.
“For the first five, six years of my international career, I have batted at the sixth slot and one major disadvantage of batting such lower is that you don’t get more chance of piling massive runs,” he said.
Shafiq said that performing in the domestic circuit is his top priority, whereas his selection in the national team was purely up to the PCB.
“My job is to improve my fitness, game and performances and I am working hard on it. If the PCB and selectors consider me, I will not disappoint them and will try to play some crucial innings in the upcoming assignments to strengthen my position in the team.”
The middle-order batsman further said, “By now I am largely considered as a long-format batsman but fans have not necessarily seen the last of mine in the ODIs. I have been playing one-day in domestic cricket and my performance is also good.”
He added that he is not closing any doors on himself. “It is up to the selectors what they do. I try and take my game in the direction that modern cricket is going. I am always looking for ways to become a better batsman.”