From despondency one week to pleasure a next, Asad Shafiq’s final 3 innings have been a wise illustration of a ever-changing fortunes of a Pakistan cricket team.
Despite picking adult a dreaded span in a third Test during Edgbaston, a right-hander found himself bearing adult a sequence during The Oval, during No 4, and responded in style, heading his side’s fightback with an glorious century.
In a side containing dual of cricket’s elder statesmen Misbah ul-Haq and Younis Khan, as good as a always interesting Safaraz Ahmed and utterly mostly a comically misfiring opening partnership, Shafiq is something of a lost man. Kept next a decks during array six, though mostly on palm to drive his group out of dangerous waters their top sequence seem keep venturing into.
Despite their clearly constant ardour and ability to make runs, a total age of 80 does fundamentally meant that a golden age of Misbah and Younis is reaching a end, though during slightest in Shafiq there are signs that a sideboard won’t be left totally unclothed for Pakistan.
Shafiq might equal Garry Sobers for a many volume of Test centuries finished during array six, though as many have suggested for some time, his destiny belongs aloft adult a sequence for Pakistan — and while he might not be as immature as his looks would imply, during 30 he has copiousness of good years left in him.
In an epoch of Test compare cricket that many would disagree is not of a same description as prior decades, there has though emerged a golden era of tip sequence batsmen widespread opposite a creation — Kane Williamson, Joe Root, Steven Smith and Virat Kohli — and in Shafiq, Pakistan maybe have a male who could plea for a mark in cricket’s many inclusive child band.
With a technique carried true from a pages of a cricketing text and maybe some-more importantly a sincerely artless spirit to go with it, Shafiq sensitively goes about his business for Pakistan, perplexing to obey his batting purpose model, a mythological Mohammad Yousuf.
While 7 of his prior Test hundreds have come in Asia, maybe as many a thoughtfulness of Pakistan’s singular new tours as anything, he does have a century in South Africa to his name — made on a sharp-witted Newlands wicket opposite a not unsubstantial talents of Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel and Vernon Philander — and while batting conditions could perceptibly have been some-more enlightened in south London on Friday, he can now supplement another well-deserved century to his total outward Asia.
Dropped on seven, Shafiq finished a many of his postpone — another male to distinction from wicked fielding in this array — favoring a off-side behind block in particular, as he and Younis wrestled Pakistan behind into this match.
After 163 balls of mostly resolute batting, there was a brief and somewhat raging postponement before 3 total were brought adult — 16 balls, travelling 4 overs, spent on a shaken 99, before a shave down a belligerent brought a highly-prized singular and with it an exuberant, helmet-removed, air-punching jubilee — a stimulating high to make justification for a abrasive low of his Edgbaston pair.
In a finish it took a overwhelming locate from Stuart Broad to mislay Shafiq, though by afterwards a genuine repairs had been done, a glance of Pakistan’s batting destiny left behind for a ability throng during The Oval to take home with them on a gloriously comfortable summer evening.