Following his heroics in the final day of the first Test match against Sri Lanka that allowed Pakistan to register a victory, Abdullah Shafiq is currently the talk of the town. Pakistan needed 120 runs in the fifth and the final day of the Test match and the 22-year-old’s memorable century gave his country a memorable victory at the Galle.

Shafiq was also awarded the Player of the Match award for his innings, who remained unbeaten on 160 to help Pakistan successfully chase a 342 runs.

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While the Pakistan cricket team is widely known for others such as Babar Azam, Mohammed Rizwan and Shaheen Afridi, Shafiq remains comparatively a mystery for many. Let’s find out who the new Pakistani opener is and what makes him tick.

Shafiq was born on November 20, 1999, in Sialkot to a family where his father and uncle both were associated with cricket. His father Shafiq Ahmed and uncle Arshad Ali, both were professional cricketers in the past. Arshad, used to represent the United Arab Emirates on the international stages, while Ahmed became a coach after retiring.

With his father and uncle by his side, Shafiq took an interest in the sport soon and began playing from an early age. The youngster turned professional in 2018, when he was brought by Multan Sultans from the Pakistan Super League player draft, however, did not make an appearance in the league that year.

He first broke into the limelight in December 2019, when he made his first-class debut for Central Punjab and scored 133 runs. He also went onto score another century in his T20 debut next year and became the first Pakistani batter to score tons in first-class and T20 debuts.

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Shafiq made his T20I debut for Pakistan on November 10, 2020. The youngster then went on to be selected for Pakistan’s ODI and Test squads in the next six months.

The batter made his Test debut for Pakistan against Bangladesh on November 26, 2021. His performance excited many as he was once again selected for the Test squad against Australia, where he registered his maiden Test century. Shafiq scored 397 runs in three Test matches against the Aussies, which led to his selections in Test squads against West Indies and Sri Lanka.

The decision to select him against Sri Lanka paid dividends as he led the Pakistani side to a record run chase.