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Confident Saim wants to create his own legacy

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LAHORE: Saim Ayub has watched the world’s best southpaws in videos but doesn’t idolise any. The upcoming Pakistan opener wants to create his own legacy instead.

The left-hander has only dazzled onlookers since emerging onto the domestic cricket scene hardly two years ago.

After finishing as the second-highest run-scorer in the National T20 Cup last year, Saim showed he was meant for the big stage when he performed extraordinarily well for Peshawar Zalmi in the HBL Pakistan Super League earlier this year, scoring 341 runs at an excellent strike rate of 165.33.

His performance in the PSL earned him a place in Pakistan’s recent three-match T20 International series against Afghanistan, in which he played a decent inning in the side’s consolation victory in the final match.

He was one of only three players to be retained in the squad for Pakistan’s upcoming five-match series against New Zealand at home.

The 20-year-old’s shots range from conventional frontfoot and backfoot stokes to the more adventurous scoops, flicks and paddles. His “no-look” shot — essentially a paddle-scoop — has gained massive popularity following the PSL.

“I have seen videos of every lefty,” Saim said ahead of Pakistan’s first training session of the ongoing preparatory camp for the New Zealand games at the Gaddafi Stadium here on Friday.

“Saeed Anwar was also at the same place in popularity at my age but the way he emerged as a legend I will try my best to establish my name so that people could idolise me.”

Despite an amazing show in the PSL, Saim had to wait to find his touch against Afghanistan. His knock of 49 runs in the third T20 came only after he had failed to make an impact in the first two matches.

The Karachi-born southpaw said he found a clear difference in standard between the PSL and international cricket.

“There is a difference between the standard of international and league cricket and every cricketer has to make efforts to adjust to the international standard as soon as possible,” Saim observed.

“Though playing conditions in Sharjah and here in Pakistan are different, at the end, the players have to perform their best to win matches.”

Saim is a believer in confidence and said the trait was the key to success for every cricketer.

“I go in every game with confidence at my back and I try to remain positive,” he noted.

The youngster, who made his PSL debut for Quetta Gladiators last year, said he felt lucky to be playing Pakistan’s lethal pace attack in the nets. Saim said he was looking forward to giving his best in whatever opportunities that come his way and believed he could show flexibility across formats and across batting positions according to the team’s requirements.

Published in Dawn, April 8th, 2023


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