Sarfraz looking to identify Pakistan's strengths for the World Cup in ODI series

Waseem Ahmed 20:55 18/01/2019
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Pakistan skipper Sarfraz Ahmed.

Pakistan skipper Sarfraz Ahmed has termed Fakhar Zaman as one of the most important players in his side ahead of the first ODI against South Africa at Port Elizabeth on Saturday.

The opening batsman had a miserable time in the Test series against the Proteas where he was dropped for the final match after disappointing displays in the first two games. However, Fakhar remains one of the most explosive openers going around in limited-overs cricket and Sarfraz is backing the left-hander to do the business against South Africa.

“Fakhar Zaman is a very important player for us and his target is to play his natural game, which is quite similar to how David Warner plays or how Virender Sehwag or Shahid Afridi played in the past. I have told him that he needs to stay at the wicket more because his presence scares the bowlers,” the Pakistan skipper told reporters on the eve of the first ODI.

Against Faf du Plessis’ men, Sarfraz believes that batting first on the South African pitches will be key in deciding the final outcome of the series.

Fakhar will be key to Pakistan generating good starts in the series.

Fakhar will be key to Pakistan generating good starts in the series.

“It is necessary to get runs while batting in the first innings. If a touring team is able to do that, they win matches. Four of our five matches are day/night encounters. The teams prefer to bat first here, like India did (in 2018), as, it gets difficult to bat under lights,” the wicketkeeper batsman explained.

With the ICC World Cup set to take place in a few months in England, the Pakistan captain is hoping to try out a variety of combinations in the five matches.

“We have to identify our strengths ahead of the World Cup for which we will be trying different combinations in this series and the one against Australia,” he stated.

While his side were unstoppable in the Test series against Pakistan, South Africa skipper Faf du Plessis believes the visitors will be a completely different beast in the ODIs.

“Pakistan is a very good one day side and probably they would be the first to say that from a performance point of view, their one-day team is much stronger. It will be a nice challenge for us,” said the Proteas skipper.

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