Never check your strongest shot even when you are facing the first ball, is what legendary Pakistan batsman Saeed Anwar told Zeeshan Ashraf when the upcoming talent sought his advise. Zeeshan, a stockily built southpaw opener, is gradually rising through the ranks of Pakistan cricket. After making an impact in the ongoing domestic season, Zeeshan is likely to compete in the Pakistan Super League.

“I met Saeed bhai when he came down to Okara for a religious congregation and I asked him what was the one advice he would give me to become a successful batsman. He said never check your strongest shot even if it is on the first ball you face because that is how you will always get runs,” Zeeshan recalled.

Since then, Zeeshan has been watching hours of videos of Saeed and other top left-handers such as Brian Lara and Matthew Hayden and tried to replicate their shots. “In my early years I was my own coach and I just watched these videos and tried to play the same shots when I trained and had nets,” he said.

Zeeshan, who scored his first-class century for Southern Punjab in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy on Monday, caught the attention of experts while playing for the same team in division two non-first class championship where he scored a ton of runs with ease.

And before being promoted to division one, he had already made an impact by becoming the best batsman of the national T20 championship in Faisalabad.

“I know it has been a great season and I know some franchises are keen to sign me but for me the ultimate goal is to play for my country because without Pakistan what are we?,” he said.