Is Asad Shafiq the new Younis Khan?

Is Asad Shafiq the new Younis Khan?
Asad Shafiq, one of the most successful Pakistan batsmen in recent times (AFP)

Sharjah - Karachi player is enjoying his new role as a No 3 batsman

By Liaqat Ali 

Published: Fri 28 Oct 2016, 8:17 PM

Last updated: Sun 30 Oct 2016, 12:07 PM

Asad Shafiq, one of the most successful Pakistan batsmen in recent times, is revelling in his new role in his country's Test team. 
Despite the presence of the mighty Younis Khan, skipper Misbah-ul Haq asked the diminutive Asad to bat at number three - arguably the toughest middle order spot in Test cricket. 
"For me, the one-down position is not new. I have batted at number three throughout my first class career and I like this new role in the Test side," Asad said during an interaction with media at the Sharjah stadium, the venue for the Pakistan and West Indies third Test starting from Sunday.
"Every position has its own challenges but batting at number three gives a batsman the freedom to build his innings. I like this challenge and I am happy to bat at number three," he said.
Many former Pakistan players see Asad as the new Younis Khan. But the middle-order batsman refuses to get carried away even after being praised by his illustrious seniors like Misbah.   
"It is their greatness that they have praised my efforts. It gives me great confidence and I always want to learn from my every innings and contribute to the team. I believe in the collective goal."  
The Karachi batsman is turning out to be one of the key players in Pakistan side.  
"Our upcoming visits to New Zealand and Australia will be challenging but we are ready to perform well against them," he said.
"When we landed in England we faced lot of questions but the team did well and we drew the Test series. We prepared well for that England tour and will do the same for New Zealand and Australia," he said.
One of the big reasons behind Pakistan's improvement has been their new-found love for fitness. And Asad agrees that the fitness culture is changing in Pakistan camp.
"Our cricket board (PCB) organises training camps regularly and it is paying dividends. The Kakul camp under the army instructors has played a huge role in improving the fitness standards. It is a good change and our players are taking care of themselves.
"Everybody knows how important it is to stay fit to survive the tough world of modern cricket. There is always a tight schedule and we get no time to recover from injuries." 
Such has been Asad's consistency with the bat in Test cricket that it becomes easy to overlook his impressive fielding standards. 
"Fielding needs a lot of practice and attention," he said. 
"Good fielding always lifts the morale of the team. Our fielding coach Steve Rixon is trying his best to improve the standards," he said.

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