ISLAMABAD: Former Test captain Rashid Latif has said that he wants Sarfraz Ahmed to continue to lead the green caps till the 2019 World Cup.
Talking to The Nation, Latif said that the results of second Test and first Twenty20 against Australia proved to be huge morale-booster for Sarfraz. “To continue with Sarfraz till next World Cup will serve multiple purposes as first it will give confidence to him and he will lead the team bravely. It will also keep the players united and proper them to be more focused on their performances and help the team not only register crucial victories but also win the mega trophy.”
He said Sarfraz was facing undue criticism from all the corners, which he personally felt was affecting his on-and-off-the-field performances and also of the team. “The way Sarfraz led the team and made positive decisions and rotated his bowlers, it was a clear indication that he has found that lost touch, which is very important for any top cricket-playing nation, that its captain must be given all-out and unconditional backing.”
Latif said Sarfraz not only batted superbly, but also gave much-needed confidence to his teammates. “The way Fakhar made his Test debut is a clear indication that this boy is here to stay for long. I always advocated Fakhar as I know he is future of Pakistan cricket. He is brave and not afraid of playing his natural game. Pakistan teams badly need a player like Fakhar.
“I am glad for star performer Muhammad Abbas, who shouldered the responsibility of spearheading the fast-bowling department quite well. He is a natural wicket-taking bowler. I feel World Cup is not so far, so Pakistan team management and coach should check Abbas in the ODIs as well, as he could prove lethal for Pakistan in the limited overs game. In case, he doesn’t click, he can sit out which is not a big deal. But there is no reason, why Abbas should not be tried in ODIs,” he added.
The former cricketer said Yasir Shah is gradually coming back to his own. “These are very good signs for Pakistan team, as if he produces his magic, he can be the match-winner. New Zealand series is round the corner and Pakistan team management and selectors must not explore too many options rather they should stick to 20 to 25 pool of players and rotate them before announcing the final squad for the next year’s World Cup. “Azhar Ali and M Hafeez are experienced campaigners and they provide much-needed depth in batting. Azhar, like witnessed in the Champions Trophy last year, played key role in not only scoring runs, but also helped Fakhar to adjust and score runs freely. Experience always holds the key.
“The 50-over cricket is almost like long version of the game, as one has to make his innings and then turn 20s into 50s while losing wickets at key moments can play decisive role in winning or losing. I feel Pakistan team is in good shape, played one of the best crickets in the second Test and all set to win the Australia T20 series as well,” he added. “Now green caps have momentum at their side and they must not get relaxed as complacency can cost them dearly. Pakistan are favourites against Australia and I feel they will also give tough time to Kiwis. Although New Zealand is stronger team than Australia and they play well in UAE, but green caps are once again favourites and if they play according to their strength, they are bound to win the New Zealand series as well,” Latif concluded. Agencies