Azam Khan completes a run with an inverted bat in the PSL on Sunday (Screengrab)
Azam Khan, the 21-year-old hard-hitting batsman, has been one of the biggest stories of this year's Pakistan Super League (PSL) season so far.
Silencing his many critics - he has been accused of being favoured because of being the son of former cricketer Moin Khan and numerous digs have been taken at his body weight - Azam Khan played yet another matchwinning knock for the Quetta Gladiators on Sunday.
One of his runs in the victory against Karachi Kings on Sunday has drawn special attention as it was completed with the handle of his bat inverted.
— Faizan Rasul (@FaizanRasul11) February 23, 2020
Karachi Kings were undone by a superb partnership between Azam and skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed with all-rounder Anwar Ali later bludgeoning the winning hit. Azam smashed four boundaries and two maximums during his stay at the crease while skipper Sarfaraz remained unbeaten on 37 off 28 balls. Ironically, Azam Khan was run out on 46.
Azam Khan redefining cricket. 😂 pic.twitter.com/NIUDRJC8P3
— Hassan Cheema (@Gotoxytop1) February 23, 2020
Letting his bat do the talking
Azam Khan has always been under immense pressure to prove himself. The Karachi crowd shouted "parchi" at him when he walked out to bat, an unflattering reference to someone who is perceived not to have earned their place on merit.
His body weight has also earned him numerous jibes. Even commentator Ramiz Raja referred to him as 'laddu' on air and said that he would ask him a question about his figure in the post-match presentation ceremony if Azam Khan won the Man of the Match award any day.
After Azam Khan was indeed named the Man of the Match on Sunday, Ramiz Raja told him after the match: "I had promised to pick you up if you won a Man of the Match award, but I think I need to do some work in the gym to be able to do that."
— Faysal Quraishi (@faysalquraishi) February 23, 2020
"I am confident in my ability and the only thing I can do is reply with my bat and that's what I am going to do in future as well. I am not bothered by criticism and try to avoid it, but it hurt to see people being so negative about me," Azam Khan had said at a media event before the PSL 2020 season.