Sarfraz wants to lead with performance
LONDON: Skipper Sarfraz Ahmed vowed to make his contribution with the bat, behind the stumps and his tactics as skipper to lead Pakistan to victory over a more formidable and experienced England in the two-match series which gets underway at Lord’s from Thursday.
Sarfraz, who turned 31 on Tuesday, has had a poor tour of England with scores of 4, 8, 20, 8 and 17 and was guilty of dropping a crucial catch in the Dublin Test against Ireland, which Pakistan won in the end by five wickets.
“Yes, obviously when you are the captain then everyone looks at you and on your performances. I am also looking at that,” said Sarfraz at his pre-match press conference on Wednesday.
“As far as captaincy is concerned I am doing well in that department, but yes I scored 20 and 8 in the Dublin Test, so I will try my best to do well in batting and keeping to help the team win,” said Sarfraz, who wished to be on Lord’s honour board this time.
Sarfraz notched a hundred at Lord’s but in a one-day international in 2016 so that did not bring his name on the board.
“Yes, I did but that was a ODI and I didnt get my name on the honour board but everyone wishes to have his name on the honours board, but the priority is to play well as team and win a Test at Lord’s and do my best to help the team win,” said Sarfraz.
Pakistan will be without their key batsmen Younis Khan and Misbah-ul-Haq, who both retired last year. That increased responsibility on Sarfraz, Asad Shafiq, Mohammad Amir and Azhar Ali — four survivours of the last tour.
“Yes, the senior players in the team have to show responsibility. Amir and I have played here before so has Azhar and Shafiq, so we are seniors and the rest of seven players will play here for the first time. We have to lead from the front, we have more responsibility to give a good platform so that new players take from there,” said Sarfraz, who admitted leg-spinner Yasir Shah will be missed.
Yasir was ruled out of the tour with a hip injury.
“Because Yasir is not here thats is why we are playing five bowlers. Thats why we have inducted Shadab Khan and Faheem Ashraf the fourth and fifth bowler, so we can have five bowlers. ”
“If we had Yasir we would have played six batsmen and a keeper with four bowlers. Yasir had been performing well , he is very experienced, he took ten wickets at Lord’s last time and then eight at The Oval, so it’s a big miss. But we will do our best to perform well.”
Sarfraz showed delight over newcomer Imam-ul-Haq’s progress, who knocked an unbeaten 72 in the win over Ireland.
“Yes, I am very pleased the way he is playing, especially in the second innings (at Dublin) its not easy the youngster was playing his first Test, it was a crucial knock of 72 runs,” said Sarfraz of Imam’s knock in Pakistan’s successful 160-run chase.
“As a captain I am very confident and he too is comfortable and InShaAllah he will continue performing well like that.”
Sarfraz said pacer Hasan Ali will be assessed in the nets.
“Yes, we have already announced our 12 member squad. It’s the same 11 that played against Ireland, we have put in Hasan Ali as well, so we will announce the eleven tommorrow, before the toss.”
Asked what d he thinkS of England as opponents, Sarfraz said: “If you see the England squad they are a very experienced players. They have good bowling and good batting so yes, they are also playing in their home conditions and they will be tough opponents, so hopefully we will beat them.”
Sarfraz admitted England will be low on confidenece after losing the Ashes to Australia 4-0 and 1-0 in New Zealand.
“Yes, if you see England’s last four months they are not good for them. They lost the Ashes in Australia and did not have good time in New Zealand so as a team they do not have good time but if you talk of the weather its good.
“When we came here we played four games in altogether different weather. When we played the two county games (at the start), too cold at Kent, Northampton too hot, when we went to Ireland it was too cold. Then at Leicester it was too hot, so this weather is too good. I think as captain I see England, at the moment, being less confident as a team so as a team we will tryo to take advantage and try to perform well.”