Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed has said that the decision to captain the side in all three formats of the game lies with Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).
While speaking in an exclusive interview with Daily Express, Sarfraz said that there is always pressure whenever you lead Pakistan team but he is not someone who will back out without a fight.
“Whenever you captain Pakistan side there is always pressure and good and bad patches are part of game,” he said. “My elders have always advised me to fight it out when you face criticism from all corners. My only intention is to continue playing cricket till my last breath while the captaincy decision lies with the PCB.”
Sarfraz also spoke about the improvement in team’s performance since the Asia Cup 2018 debacle.
“After the Asia Cup we were under pressure to perform but the team responded really well through hardwork and dedicati1on,” he said. “I think one of the main reasons behind our team’s success, especially in T20I cricket, is the vastly improved standard of fielding. Also the team combination is really good and we are executing our plans in a really good manner. If the World T20 took place right now, we would put up a good show because we have momentum on our side.”
The Pakistan skipper also spoke about the rise of young Shaheen Shah Afridi and his ability to bowl consistently well during the death overs.
“I try to give youngsters as much chance as possible and thankfully that has worked to great effect with the recent example being Shaheen,” he said. “Although it’s difficult to bowl at the death but he has done exceedingly well so far. I only ask him to give his best and don’t worry about anything else.”
Sarfraz also stressed on the importance of senior players like Shoaib Malik and Mohammad Hafeez in the side.
“We are not neglecting the seniors deliberately because our only focus is on making a proper team combination,” he said. “During the Asia Cup we had a different team combination without Hafeez but now he is back in the side and performing really well. I hope that he continues in the same manner.”
He added: “In tricky situations senior players like Hafeez bhai and Malik bhai can play a key role through their experience which aids me during my captaincy.”
He also brushed aside the notion of excessively scolding the players while talking about the style of his captaincy.
“I only lead the side in one way and there is no truth behind the fact that I excessively scold them on the field,” he said. “I also back the players and they have my complete support.”
Mohammad Abbas has racked up some great numbers with the ball in the Test format but Sarfraz feels that his inclusion in the limited-over formats will depend on how other bowlers perform as they are currently ahead of him in the pecking order.
“The conditions in England are suitable for a bowler like Abbas but currently our pace battery is full of good bowlers,” he said. “Shaheen, Shinwari, Ashraf, Ali and Junaid Khan are all bowling really well so it is hard to induct another pacer in the side right now.”
Speaking about left arm pacer Mohammad Amir, Sarfraz said: “He is still in our plans and he will be brought back into the side if and when required.”
Originally published on Express Tribune by Saleem Khaliq