Mirpur: Opener Ahmad Shehzad described his maiden Twenty20 International ton on Sunday as ‘a gift’ to the whole of Pakistan.
Shehzad’s unbeaten 111 in the 50-run win over World Twenty20 hosts Bangladesh ensured he became the first Pakistan batsman to score a century in all three formats of the game.
He said: “I dedicate this century to all those who criticise me and those who love me. It is for all those people who have said anything about me — good, bad, whoever it is. It is my gift to them, it is my gift to the whole of Pakistan, for people outside as well.”
Answering a question from Gulf News about how he felt about missing the milestone by two runs when he scored 98 against Zimbabwe in Harare last year, Shehzad said: “It is a great feeling and I feel proud to have become the first [Pakistan] batsman to score a century in all three formats of the game. In Harare I came so close and had hoped one day I would get a century in Twenty20. I am happy that I achieved it today.”
Of his innings, he added: “When I reached the 70s, Shoaib Malik, who was with me, told me to take it easy and carry on and that I would reach my century. Also the instruction to me from my captain was to bat through until the end of the 20 overs as the anchorman.”
Shehzad also stressed the importance of a well-set batsman having to stay on even if wickets fall at the other end. “Though we lost a few early wickets, Malik gave good support and we really built up the innings. We also ran between the wickets well and hence it made batting easy.”
Meanwhile, Bangladesh skipper Mushfiqur Rahim once again had no answer to his team’s defeat. “It has been a really disappointing tournament for us,” he said. “We will be happy if at least we can win one match in this tournament [against Australia on March 31]. It will give us something to cheer.”
Rahim added that teams like India and Pakistan are too strong for them. “We don’t have hard-hitters or match-winners like India and Pakistan possess,” he said. “Unfortunately some of our players were also out of form.”