The Brisbane Heat secured the services of Pakistan’s first-rate hitter Fakhar Zaman for a three-game season in January.
Fakhar will replace English hitter Tom Abell, whose stint at KFC BBL has been cut short, with his knee injury more severe than initially indicated. After playing just two games, Abell has returned home to the UK to recover from a lateral ligament injury.
Fakhar’s first game for the Heat is written against the Melbourne Renegades in Geelong on January 6.
The southpaw has played 175 T20 games with a career strike rate of 132.96.
He has played 64 T20 Internationals, 53 One Day Internationals and three Tests to date.
After originally joining the Pakistan Navy, where he currently holds an honorary rank of Lieutenant, his cricket career took off through a number of ODI highlights.
In July 2018, he became the first Pakistani hitter to score a double century in an ODI and in the same tournament against Zimbabwe, he eclipsed Sir Viv Richards’ record by reaching 1000 runs on ODIs in the fewest innings.
Playing South Africa in the second ODI last year, Fakhar scored 193, which was the highest individual score while chasing in an ODI, topping the 185 scored by Shane Watson against Bangladesh.
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Those two scores make him one of only two players (along with Rohit Sharma) to boast two 190+ scores in ODI cricket.
He attributes his rapid development in part to working alongside former Brisbane Heat hitting achiever Brendon McCullum on the Lahore Qalanders in the Pakistan Super League.
Given Queensland’s border restrictions, Fakhar is unable to play home games for the Heat on January 8 and 12, with the expectation that he will play on interstates on January 6, 16 and 19, and possibly the finals.
Brisbane Heat coach Wade Seccombe said the club hoped to bring Zaman to the team for the remainder of the competition.
“It’s great to have a player of his class available to us on relatively short notice,” said Seccombe.
“However, we are naturally disappointed to lose Tom and wish him a speedy recovery in England.
“Like all clubs, we certainly value the commitment international players make to come and play in the BBL and it was a real shame to lose Tom so early in the tournament.
“Fakhar will join us in Melbourne before the game against the Renegades. We are delighted that he is with us in what are emerging as key games.
“He is a classy player who does his job for the teams he has played for, so we are confident that he will adapt quickly.”
The Heat are currently preparing in Hobart for tomorrow’s New Years Day clash with the Hobart Hurricanes in form.