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Leading in all formats no burden for Sarfraz

DUBAI: For Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed, leading the national side in all three formats is not a burden.

The wicket-keeper/batsman recently lead Pakistan to a Test series win against Australia, and two consecutive Twenty20 International series triumphs against the Aussies and New Zealand respectively.

 

Former Pakistan batsman Mohsin Khan, however, believes Sarfraz will struggle if he keeps continuing to captain Pakistan in all the formats.

“With Sarfraz I was saying you got a new guy in, don’t put the burden of three formats on him. It will take such a physical load on him, T20s, ODIs and then Tests if he is captain he will not get any mental relaxation,” Mohsin, the recently-appointed Pakistan Cricket Board’s (PCB) Cricket Committee head, said on a private channel.

None of that bothers Sarfraz, though. The captain is looking forward to more wins and getting his team ready for the all-important 2019 World Cup in England.

“I just want to say that I want to play cricket,” Sarfraz told Dawn on Sunday.

“As a player and as captain I feel no pressure. I’m trying to manage everything with the best of my abilities and I hope things will improve further,” he added.

Sarfraz said he is not overly dependent on results to keep the team and himself as an individual confident and the team is moving towards the right direction.

“As we all know results can change — sometimes you win and some times you lose but as captain I’m confident about how things are progressing,” said the 31-year-old.

Pakistan’s six-wicket win in their second T20 against New Zealand marked Sarfraz Ahmed’s 11th consecutive series win in the format.

The captain believed the success is the result of the joint effort by the whole Pakistan camp.

“I’m very happy about this winning streak,” he said. “Winning 11 consecutive T20 series is a great feat and the credit goes to the team management and the players for the wonderful performances.

“May be as a team we are not applauded as much but still I’m very happy.”

Pakistan will take on New Zealand in a three-match ODI series with the first match set to take place in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday.

With recent assurances of dominance in T20s and Tests, Sarfraz said now it’s time to repeat it in the 50-overs format.

Sarfraz said he will make use of the upcoming matches to prepare for next year’s World Cup.

“The ICC Cricket World is a big event. Everyone knows the value of the event and I’m trying to make a good combination ahead of the World Cup,” said Sarfraz.

“My real aim is to analyse our positive and weak points so we are fully sorted before entering the World Cup.”

Sarfraz was also full of praise for medium-pacer Mohammad Abbas who was destructive during Pakistan’s 1-0 Test series triumph against Australia.

Abbas took an impressive 17 wickets in the series and became the joint second-fastest bowler to bag 50 wickets for Pakistan.

Sarfraz hinted Abbas can make it to the ODI squad ahead of the World Cup.

“Abbas’ performance clearly shows that he has the credentials to become a world class bowler. At the moment we have lots of good fast bowlers in ODI cricket but we can give him a chance,” he said.

The Pakistan captain also expressed his happiness over the return of veteran all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez back in the national team fold.

“Hafeez Bhai really made a great come back in to the national side. I’m really happy the way he is performing at the moment. His consistency in batting helps the team a lot and I’m hopeful for the same in the coming series,” said Sarfraz.