RAWALPINDI: Pakistan Test opener Abdullah Shafique feels honoured to be compared with Indian legend Rahul Dravid by his captain Babar Azam.
The stylish right-hander, who made his debut against Bangladesh last year, impressed during Australia’s visit to Pakistan in March.
He scored a century in the first Test and a crucial 96-run second-innings knock to rescue Pakistan in the second Test in Karachi before an 81-run innings in Lahore.
Babar, in awe of Abdullah’s technique, ended up comparing him with Dravid and New Zealand captain Kane Williamson in a recent interview.
“I am honoured that Babar compared me with Dravid,” Abdullah told reporters on the sidelines of Pakistan’s preparatory camp for the upcoming series against Sri Lanka at the Pindi Cricket Stadium on Tuesday.
However, the 22-year-old revealed he idolises former Australia skipper Ricky Ponting and ex-Pakistan batter and current batting coach Mohammad Yousuf more than Dravid or Williamson.
“I used to follow Ricky Ponting a lot,” he said. “I also follow Babar and Yousuf Bhai.”
Abdullah combined for a 228-run partnership with Babar in Karachi, where the latter missed out narrowly on a double century but helped Pakistan manage a historic draw despite a dismal first innings show.
The Lahore-born batter said he was “learning a lot” from Babar.
“Babar has faith in all players of the team and keeps on appreciating their performance,” Abdullah said.
Abdullah was also a part of the Pakistan squad in their recent three-match One-day International series triumph against the West Indies. The Lahore Qalandars player, though, did not feature in any of the games.
“It was indeed a great experience for me. Although I didn’t get the opportunity to play, it was good being around the players who were playing,” he said.
Abdullah, who averages 68.37 in Tests, is looking forward to Pakistan’s upcoming two-match Test series against Sri Lanka which starts on July 16.
He said practicing during the ongoing camp would prove beneficial to prepare for the conditions the island might offer.
“We have played good cricket in the last series against Australia but the challenges in Sri Lanka would be different,” said Abdullah.
“But we are preparing accordingly.
“I’m also ready to grab the opportunity and determined to perform well.”
Published in Dawn, June 29th, 2022