DERBY: Mickey Arthur has praised Pakistani fast bowler Zaman Khan’s bowling efforts in the inaugural match of UK's T20 Vitality Blast.
Arthur, who is the head of cricket at the Derbyshire cricket club and also the Pakistan cricket team's director, was speaking to media after Derbyshire Falcons were defeated by Lancashire Lightning in their opening match.
Zaman was roped in by Arthur for Derbyshire to strengthen the bowling squad of Falcons in the Blast.
The bowler joined Derbyshire squad on Thursday and had just one practice session at Incora County Ground, home of Derbyshire cricket before he was put into action in the T20 Blast opener on Saturday against Lancashire at Edgbaston.
Although Zaman did not have a great start to the tournament and leaked runs in his first two overs, but made a strong comeback late in the match. Lancashire’s Luke Wells welcomed the Pakistani pacer with a six over midwicket on his first ball. He ended up conceding 18 runs in his first over including two boundaries and a wide.
The bowler's second over went for 13 runs, but he did manage to get his first wicket on English soil when George Bell was out after being caught by Derbyshire skipper Leus du Plooy at mid-on.
But Arthur hoped that the right arm pacer, who’s got a slinging bowling action and has proven his ability to consistently fire in yorkers at a 90 mph, will get better and better as the tournament progresses.
“He will just get better and better. He possesses the skills we need. He balls an incredibly-good fast yorker; he delivers a good bouncer and a very good slower ball, and those are the skills we need," Arthur said.
After giving away 31 runs in his first two overs, Zaman made a strong comeback later in the innings. In his last two overs, he was at his usual best bowling a mixture of fast paced Yorkers, bouncers and slower deliveries. The bowler did manage to get his second wicket of the match when he cleaned up Kiwi international Colin de Grandhomme with a lovely slower one.
“The key is he fits into what we needed. We needed somebody who can bowl two overs in the power play and then two at depth. Something when we had looked at our squad, we thought we had left, and he can do that and does that incredibly well. We battle a little bit with his English, but actually we are very fortunate to get him," Arthur added.
Zaman, who belongs to Azad Jammu Kashmir and comes from a very humble background, has consistently shown his talent in the last couple of years. He bagged 15 wickets in 13 matches in this year’s PSL champions Lahore Qalandars.
His phenomenal success and ability to bowl at death overs, while under pressure, has earned him a call to Pakistan national team this year. He made his debut during the three-match T20I series against Afghanistan in March this year.
“He will get just better and better, as this is his first time in England and in these conditions. We need to just get another week into him and he’ll be good to go on Friday night," said a very optimistic Arthur.
Zaman will be back in action on Friday May 26 when Derbyshire Falcons take on neighbouring Nottinghamshire Outlaws at Trent Bridge Nottingham — a match dubbed as East Midlands Derby.
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