After months of speculation, Pakistan Cricket Board has retained Sarfaraz Ahmed as Pakistan captain for the upcoming Sri Lanka series. Captains are announced series-by-series, so no confirmation has been made about Sarfaraz’s future as test captain. Babar Azam who was being tipped to replace Sarfaraz has been named vice-captain.
PCB had already shown the door to coach Mickey Arthur in July. Incoming coach Misbah ul Haq praised Sarfaraz’s work ethic and desire to improve fitness but had stopped short of giving his backing to Sarfaraz in his 1st press conference. In 2015, when Misbah ul Haq had retired from ODI cricket, he had recommended Azhar Ali as his replacement, overlooking Sarfaraz. Waqar Younus, the new bowling coaches’ relationship with Sarfaraz is also rumoured to be tenuous.
However, with this move, both Misbah and Waqar have given the wicket-keeper batsman full backing.
Speaking to reporters after the announcement, Sarfaraz hoped that they can bring more consistency in their cricket.
“I am aware we have not done justice to our potential in ODIs, which has disappointed us as well as our fans,” he said. “I am hopeful we will be able to turn things around in the coming season and in this relation. I remain committed to stepping up to the challenge with my performances and captaincy.
“I also have complete faith in my team, which has time and again shown talent, class, and charisma it possesses. The only thing missing has been consistency, which Misbah-ul-Haq and I would like to focus and improve across all departments of the game. I assure all our fans we will not leave any stone unturned in our preparations for the forthcoming assignments and will do our best to translate these preparations into solid performances.”
Babar, on the other hand, has quickly taken the role of the main batsman in the side in all format. Now, he has been trusted with more responsibility as the vice-captain. This is perhaps in mind the future considering Sarfaraz’s advancing age. The batsman from Lahore had captained Pakistan at the U-19 level.
Misbah also made a statement backing Sarfaraz.
“I want to congratulate Sarfaraz on his confirmation as Pakistan captain and Babar on his appointment as vice-captain. Both are one of the most talented and exceptionally gifted Pakistan cricketers and thoroughly deserve these assignments.
“Consistency backed up by good performance has been my yardstick for recommending Sarfaraz as captain. Furthermore, I think I am better placed to get the best out of Sarfaraz as I know him better than most of the cricketers as he has played most of his cricket under my captaincy. I have always been an admirer of his commitment and the energy he brings to the side.”
Series against Sri Lanka begins on 27th September.