Sarfraz Ahmed confirmed as Pakistan skipper for 2019 ICC World Cup

Waseem Ahmed 13:06 05/02/2019
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Sarfraz Ahmed gets the PCB nod for the 2019 World Cup.

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on Tuesday ended all speculation surrounding Sarfraz Ahmed by announcing him as the skipper of the men’s team for the 2019 ICC World Cup in England.

The wicketkeeper-batman’s position as Pakistan skipper had come under fire after he was suspended for four matches by the ICC for breaking the anti-racism code in the ODI series against South Africa.

Sarfraz’s controversial comments directed towards Proteas all-rounder Andile Phehlukwayo in the second ODI had seen the Pakistan skipper eventually recalled home from the tour of South Africa with Shoaib Malik installed as the stand-in.

Sarfraz met PCB chairman Ehsan Mani on Tuesday to review the team’s latest performances before the two addressed a joint press-conference.

“I am happy to confirm that Sarfaraz will remain Pakistan captain till the World Cup. I was always clear in my mind that Sarfaraz would be the captain. I was keen to speak with him on the team’s recent performances as part of the normal review and appraisal process, and, more importantly, about his own future plans as we all know he has undergone some tough times as a professional cricketer in the past few weeks,” Mani stated.

“Sarfaraz has reiterated his commitment to the Pakistan cricket team as well as his availability and enthusiasm to captain the team at the World Cup.

“Sarfaraz has been an integral part of the Pakistan cricket team’s World Cup preparations and has proved to be a good strategist, leader and performer.”

Under Sarfraz’s captaincy, Pakistan captured the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy in England along with stringing a record run of 11 consecutive T20 bilateral series wins. That success has not been replicated in the Test arena but Mani believes Sarfraz’s track record speaks for itself.

“He led Pakistan to the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 title as well as to the top of the ICC T20I rankings. His achievements and contributions as a captain and as a valuable all-round cricketer cannot be undermined or overlooked because of the team’s recent Test results,” Mani said.

“I am confident he will continue the good work with Mickey Arthur and Inzamam-ul-Haq so that the team is in the best possible shape and form to produce strong performances at the World Cup.”

On his part, Sarfraz thanked the PCB chairman for his support as he looked ahead to leading Pakistan at the World Cup for the first time.

“I feel humbled and honoured to be placed in the same bracket as some of the most iconic and legendary cricketers who have previously captained Pakistan at World Cups. It is the dream of any international cricketer to play in a World Cup, but to be appointed captain in the biggest cricket spectacle on the planet is something that is extremely special,” the wicketkeeper-batsman stated.

“The reality is that the last few weeks have been extremely difficult for me as a person and professional. But I am delighted that the PCB has reassured its confidence and faith in me. It has boosted my confidence tremendously.

“I am convinced we are in a good shape for the World Cup. We have top quality talent and match-winners with a committed support staff in the dressing room. Everyone is geared up and keenly looking forward to returning to the country where we won the last major ICC tournament.”

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