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Sarfaraz, the batsman, the wicket keeper

Sarfaraz needs to step up his game

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For all those grinding runs Misbah ul Haq scored, perhaps the most important of that 100 at Lords. All those doubts, went away. Pakistan believed as their captain stood up to the test. Rest of the series went w/o a highly significant score but in Asad Shafiq, Younus Khan, Azhar Ali & Sarfaraz Ahmed, he found able fighters. While the top order scored decent runs, Sarfaraz chipped in with vital 40s and often changed the mood of the game. They were crucial runs in context like that 60 odd against Sri Lanka in the Champions Trophy.

That test team was perhaps at its peak, the current one perhaps isn’t. It would have made so much sense to persuade Younus Khan to remain in contention as Misbah was retiring. Cricket Board had other ideas. Two gaping holes in the team, and still Fawad Alam did not get a call. Asad Shafiq had a slump, Azhar couldn’t carry the side as Younus did once. Sarfaraz’s runs also dried up to a degree. Those quick 40s turned into 20s. While still enterprising, not enough. His keeping also hasn’t been up to the mark. When a wicket keeper starts missing chances in the UK as Sarfaraz did against Ireland, horrors of Kamran Akmal’s career flash in front of our eyes.

Pakistan are now playing May rather than July. Their preparation isn’t as detailed as it was last time. We will be facing a fresh English pace onslaught. Whatever you say of Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Board, in home conditions they are champion bowlers. Top order or simply batting in general remains fragile for Pakistan.  With Sarfaraz batting at 6, responsibility obviously multiplies. He would perhaps find himself 50 for 4 in these test and should be mentally switched on to fight that situation. To put it simply, irrespective of how others perform Sarfaraz will have to score runs and take his catches and stumping.

the authorAsjad Khan