When it comes to captaining the Pakistan team, a lot of cricketers tend to reject the offer or try to refrain from it as it’s a very uphill task and can affect a player’s individual performance a lot. Sarfaraz Ahmed took up captaincy for Pakistan in 2016, started captaining all sides in 2017 and was dropped from T20I’s and Tests in late 2019 immediately being sacked as a captain.
Sarfaraz seemingly became a victim of the drop-in form after taking up captaincy, it was maybe the pressure or he just didn’t believe in himself as there were many instances where we could see him batting below tail enders, this was a massive stain on his reputation as a captain since many modern-day captains tend to lead from the front, by setting an example.
A cricketer who was most known of his gutsy ability to sweep fast bowlers, someone who used to tirelessly run between the wickets later became the one who was continuously criticized for his poor fitness. The capability of sweeping fast bowlers was nowhere to be seen and Sarfaraz who was once termed as ‘street smart’ began to look toothless on the crease.
Did Sarfaraz not believe in himself? Was he lost? Or was it all the captaincy pressure getting the better of him? Surely, he had a lot of duties to do at once. Wicket-keeping, captaincy and at times batting during situations that weren’t suitable for him.
During his reign, Malik and Hafeez were best known to be in the middle order, Sarfaraz Ahmed followed them but he would bat at a position that would do him no good for his sake, as he’s not recognized as a big hitter of the ball, he could never make most of himself batting at 6.
Out of 50 ODI’s that Sarfaraz captained Pakistan in, he scored 804 runs at an average of 32 from which Pakistan lost 28 games. In 13 Tests that Sarfaraz captained, he averaged a mere 25.81 scoring 568 runs out of which Pakistan lost 8, on his most recent Test tour to South Africa in 2019, the captain bagged 3 ducks. Before captaincy in tests, Sarfaraz scored 2657 runs in 43 games at an average of 36.39.
In T20I’s Sarfaraz averaged 27.42 scoring 521 runs in 37 matches. However, his record as a T20I captain was phenomenal in which he captained the side to 29 victories out of 37.
Not a single century was scored by him whilst he captained the side.
The PCB chairman Ehsan Mani quoted that the loss of confidence and form in Sarfaraz has been evident for which he has been left out in best interest of the team.
18, 5*, 2*, 12, 44*, 8, 23, 24, 26, 17 – These were the last 10 scores of Sarfaraz in T20I’s at an average of 17.9. Doesn’t look too impressive considering the amount of media pressure a Pakistani player needs to play under.
Winning the Champions Trophy, bringing Pakistan’s T20I side to No.1, these are a few of the achievements Sarfaraz will always be acknowledged for. But the following losses of series after series, the drop-in form and the test team suffering at no.7 will always be questioned upon Sarfaraz’s captaincy career.