By Sohail Ali
LAHORE, Mar 23 (APP):Pakistan opening batsman Sharjeel Khan has said that he is focusing on improving his fitness adding that everything is not about fitness, but skills also count.
Talking to media virtually here on Tuesday, Sharjeel said: “Being a sportsperson, I am working on my fitness but also not ignoring my batting as I batted for two hours previous day. For me, everything is not about fitness but your skills also count. Fitness is important and I am working on improving it and have been doing all season.”
About his fitness, the batsman said: “There is no issue of fitness as such. I have played in the domestic season and have been playing cricket for the past seven months. I have played eight first class games, eleven T20s, five PSL games and seven one-day games in the Pakistan Cup. Thanks to the Almighty, my fitness has not been the cause of any any problem in any of these games.
“Every player has different requirements for fitness, and I am following the fitness plans given to me by domestic teams and the Pakistan team, and I will do my best to achieve the required fitness levels. Yesterday, I did a fitness session which was designed specifically for me and I did 15 kms of running overall in the day. I am hopeful to achieve the benchmark set for the team very soon,” he asserted.
When asked whether he had any bad feelings on return to the Pakistan dressing room, he replied: “All these players, I am with, are the ones I have been playing in domestic cricket and I have been welcomed well and also been given a lot of support by the management and the team. Its a good environment and I am feeling very well. “The past is the past, my only focus now is to perform well and my target has always been to play my natural game and to win games with my good performances.”
About his set goals and targets, Sharjeel said: “This is my first tour of South Africa and I have been selected for the T20I squad and its my aim to perform in a way that helps the team win. I always have short-term targets, and my current target is to do well in Lahore camp. When I go to South Africa, I will make other targets once I have seen the conditions there.”
Replying to another query, the opening batsman said: “There is no pressure on me as no one from the team management has spoken to me about this. My own focus has always been on my performance. The coaching staff is very experienced and professional. All these players have been our legends, and its everyone’s wish to learn from them. I have spent a lot of time with Misbah during the PSL and also played alongside him in international cricket. I am quite happy to learn as much as I can from these legends.”
About preparing to play his pull shots on fast South Africa pitches, he said: “Every player has one shot that they play well. Some can drive, others can cut and pull well. In my case, I only play the ball on merit. If you try and think about your favourite shots only then you will get deceived by the bowler.”
The batsman said that he is looking to play Test and ODIs as well. “I have been selected for T20Is so that is my only focus at the moment. The idea is to perform really well in T20Is and then step by step look to play in ODIs and Tests but the fact is that the competition is very tough for those formats.”
When asked whether it is still difficult for him to play outside the offstump, Sharjeel said: “I dont think there is any such problem for me. If you look at the eight first class QeA matches, I don’t recall being out playing any ball which was outside my offstump. I have scored over 650 runs in FC and have stood at the wicket at times when the ball has swung all day. A player always has to keep on working on his skills, regardless of whatever strengths he has.”