LAHORE: Pakistan Cricket Board Chairman Ehsan Mani on Tuesday announced that Sarfaraz Ahmed will continue captaining the Pakistan cricket team in the upcoming 2019 Cricket World Cup.
Speaking to the media in Lahore, Ehsan Mani praised Ahmed for his skills as a captain and a cricketer.
Recalling the time when Ahmed first came into the limelight while leading Pakistan’s team to victory in the 2006 Under-19 World Cup against India, the PCB chief said, “Sarfaraz has made great progress since he led the team in the Under-19 World Cup, he has only improved with time.”
“There should be no doubt that Sarfaraz is the Pakistan cricket team’s captain. He will lead the team in the series against Australia and also in the World Cup,” the PCB chairman said.
He added: “ I was always clear in my mind that Sarfaraz would be the captain. Sarfaraz has been an integral part of the Pakistan’s World Cup preparations. He has proved to be a good strategist, leader and performer.”
“He led Pakistan to Champions Trophy 2017 title as well as to top of the International Cricket Council’s Twenty20 International rankings,” Mani said.
“Sarfaraz has reiterated his commitment to the Pakistan cricket team as well as his availability and enthusiasm to captain the team at the World Cup.”
Ahmed, who accompanied Mani at the media briefing, said that he was grateful for the opportunity to lead Pakistan cricket team in the upcoming World Cup.
“I feel proud to be joining the list of cricketers that led the Pakistan cricket team into world cups in the past. We will try our best to perform well there,” he said.
“There is only one captain of the Pakistan cricket team and it will remain so,” Mani said, while dispelling rumours that there may be a change in the team’s leadership ahead of the World Cup.
Answering a question regarding these rumours, the skipper said, “Since I started captaining the team, I did not think so far ahead into the future and worry about if I would be the team’s captain in a year’s time or not. I focused on my responsibilities on a series-to-series basis and will continue to do so.”
“I am convinced we are in a good shape for the World Cup. We have top quality talent and match-winners with a committed support staff in the dressing room,” he said when asked about how he felt going into the upcoming international showdown.
“In the lead up to the World Cup, Pakistan will play five ODIs each against Australia and England, which will also allow us the opportunity to further fine-tune our preparations. I am sure we’ll prove ourselves at the World Cup.”
Since making his debut against India in Jaipur in November 2007, Sarfaraz, 31, has played in 101 One-Day Internationals, including 35 as captain. He has scored 1,942 runs at just under 33 and has dismissed 121 batsmen behind the wickets. As captain, he has won 21 matches.
Sarfaraz played three matches in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015, finishing with 160 runs as an opener. He also caught six batsmen at the wicket.
Come back after controversy
Meanwhile, embattled skipper Sarfraz Ahmed on Sunday expressed the hope that he would make come back, days after he was imposed four-match ban by the ICC for using racist comments against South African player AndilePhehlukwayo.
Speaking at a press conference in Karachi, he also dispelled the notion that efforts were afoot to remove him from captaincy. Answering a question regarding his controversial remarks, Ahmed said teh issue was blown out of proportion and things that he didn’t mean to say were attributed to him. “When I went to Phehlukwayo he was upset that I had uttered something wrong about his mother.
“We told him about the importance of mother’s prayers in Islam,” he said adding that the South African player found his answer satisfactory and accepted his apology. Sarfraz Ahmed thanked the Pakistan Cricket Board for the way it handled the issue. He also expressed gratitude for the support he received from the nation.
The wicket-keeper said those have known him are aware of his style of captaincy. He said he keeps talking from behind the stamps. He also rejected the impression that his performance was poor, saying that being a wicket keeper batsman his performance was not that bad.
He said had scored runs in series against Australia and caught a number of catches too. Sarfraz, however, admitted that his performance was far below expectations. Asked whether he would be retained as captain, he said the decision is taken by the PCB on a series to series basis. He said he has positive vibes and there were green signal too about the