BULAWAYO  -  Pakistan Head Coach Mickey Arthur has tipped opener Fakhar Zaman to score consecutive double centuries, by replicating his exploits from the fourth ODI in the final match of the series.

“Enjoy the moment but remember there could be another on Sunday,” Arthur said in a video message after the end of the fourth ODI against Zimbabwe in Bulawayo.

The South African also praised Zaman for his record-breaking achievement while mentioning his pre-match conversation with the opener. “Congratulations Fakhar on a brilliant double-hundred,” Arthur said. “We always said it was brewing and we had a little chat on the way to the ground. I felt that if we batted first, you had a chance of getting a double-hundred and you carried that out today.

He added: “It just shows you batting is going from strength to strength, you are playing exceptionally well all around the ground, your batting is getting better and better and you are improving all the time and that’s what we want in this team.”

Skipper Sarfraz Ahmed was glad with the performance displayed by Zaman and stated that he always believed that the left-handed batsman will score a double century, if he played the entire 50 overs.

“I’m really happy with how Fakhar performed today and the way he is batting is a good sign for Pakistan cricket,” Sarfraz said. “We always had faith in him that whenever he bats the entire fifty overs, he will go on to score a double century and that is exactly what he did today.”

All-rounder Shoaib Malik also had words of appreciation for Zaman and hoped that he will continue to come up with such performances in the future as well. “I would like to congratulate him on this massive achievement,” Malik said. “This is the kind of feat which you are only able to achieve once or twice over your entire career which makes me proud of his effort.”

Malik also wished the Mardan-born opener best of luck for the future: “I wish him the best of luck for his future and hope that he will continue playing such innings for Pakistan.”

Pakistan batting coach Grant Flower called Zaman’s innings “a great achievement” and believes that his technique has improved a lot in a short span of time.

“I’ve done a lot of work with him in the nets, but he’s got a lot of natural talent and he’s worked really hard,” Flower said of Zaman.

He added: “Coming from his background, being in the navy and being very raw when he first came into the set-up, his technique has come a long way. But he’s still got a lot of his naturalness, and I think that’s his biggest asset. He showed a lot of mental strength today.”

Flower was also pleased to see the courage and determination shown by the left-handed opener: “A lot of times when you play with confidence and bravery, the luck goes your way. Hats off to him, it’s great to see.”

Pakistan opening batsman Imamul Haq believes that Fakhar can help Pakistan win the World Cup because of the amount of talent he possesses.

Speaking in an interview after the conclusion of the fourth ODI against Zimbabwe, Imam said that he was pleased with the way Zaman performed and hoped that he would play more innings like this in the future as well. “It’s a big achievement. Pakistan will benefit a lot from him, he is such a talent that he can help Pakistan win the World Cup,” Imam said.

He added: “It’s early days in his career and it takes players years to achieve what he has done. I hope Allah helps him to play many long innings.”

Imam and Zaman’s 304-run stand broke the world record for the highest opening partnership in ODI cricket — but this was not something the duo were playing for, according to Imam.

“We weren’t thinking about any records, we were trying to play ball to ball and over to over. The management told us to make big hundreds if we got set,” he said.

Zaman — who made his ODI debut against South Africa at Birmingham in 2017 — was happy with how his career has progressed so far.

Sharing his thoughts after the match, Zaman said breaking Saeed Anwar’s record was never on his mind although Head Coach Mickey Arthur was eager to see him to score a double-century.

“Yes I knew about Saeed Anwar’s score. Mickey Arthur wanted me to score a double-century if we won the toss and batted first,” said Zaman. “I had never even thought about breaking Saeed Anwar’s record. I just wanted to play one First-Class match. Then after I played that, my next target was to become an international player, but I never thought this big.”

Speaking about brilliant innings, Zaman said that his primary target after getting to a century was to score quick runs for the side and not think too much about scoring a double-ton.

“I had only planned about getting to a hundred,” he said. “After getting to that mark, I only kept on going with the intent of scoring quick runs and the double century was not something I was thinking about.”