KARACHI: Newly appointed Twenty20 skipper Sarfraz Ahmed on Tuesday said he was optimistic about taking on the challenge of leading the Pakistan side.
“It is an honour for me to lead Pakistan. Captaincy is a tough task as the whole nation pins their hopes on you,” said Sarfraz.
The 28-year-old gutsy wicketkeeper-batsman was well aware of the challenges a Pakistan captain can face in the process of leading the side. “I will try to understand what players demand of me and to make sure that they do the same,” Sarfraz said.
“The PCB has appointed me as captain so I will listen to them and will try to convey my thoughts to them as well,” he added.
Earlier today, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) announced that it was handing over the reigns of T20 captaincy to Sarfraz, days after Shahid Afridi stepped down from the position following disastrous twin campaigns in the Asia Cup and World T20 Championship.
“I spoke to Sarfraz this morning and conveyed to him that he was our natural choice for this position. His appointment is open-ended. I wish him good luck in his new role,” the PCB quoted chairman Shaharyar Khan in a press release.
Sarfraz was appointed vice-captain of Pakistan’s One-Day International (ODI) and T20 teams last year.
Afridi faced harsh criticism after his team lost three of their four games in the WT20, failing to reach the semi-finals. The PCB had formed a special committee to probe the reasons for the team’s dismal performance in the Asia Cup and WT20.
According to recommendations forwarded to PCB chairman Shahryar Khan, Sarfraz, who earlier led the Quetta Gladiators team to the Pakistan Super League (PSL) finals, was the committee’s top recommendation to replace Afridi as captain of the national side.
Last week, sources had told Geo News that both team manager Intikhab Alam and head coach Waqar Younis, who earlier appeared before the committee, had blamed Afridi for the team’s poor show in the two tournaments.
The development comes a day after the PCB disbanded its national selection committee, and Waqar Younis resigned from his position as head coach. The PCB has set up a panel comprising former captains Wasim Akram and Ramiz Raja to find a new coach.
Acting on the recommendations of the special committee appointed to probe the national team’s failures, the PCB has promised that it will take a series of short and long-term steps to overhaul Pakistan cricket.
According to the PCB, the inquiry committee has concluded that the primary reason behind Pakistan’s below-par showing is the low fitness levels of the national players.
“The special committee highlighted fitness of the players as a major issue in the poor performance of Pakistan team. The PCB will henceforth make fitness standards achievements conditional in the players’ contracts and with fines to be imposed on players not achieving the desired standards,” said the PCB in a statement on Monday.
The Board revealed that it will send the national team players to a boot camp in the mountains of Abbottabad ahead of this summer’s tour of England.
“Pakistan team’s next assignment is in England in the English summer. In order to prepare for the tough tour and as recommended by special committee a boot camp is being planned in coordination with Pakistan Army in Abbottabad to make the players physically fit for the England tour,” it said.
The statement added that, in order to curb the negativity in media regarding PCB, it would also appoint a dedicated spokesman for the board to brief the media on regular basis on all issues.