Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Pakistan recently whitewashed the West Indies 3-0 in a historic series in Karachi. But, despite a dominant performance in all three games, why was captain Sarfraz Ahmed forced to defend his team?
The series marked the first time international cricket had returned to Karachi since 2009, but critics noted that Pakistan should have won since the West Indies sent a weaker team as many high-profile players, including Chris Gayle, captain Carlos Brathwaite and Jason Holder, opted not to tour the country.
However, Sarfraz made it clear that his side deserves a lot of credit for the way they played.
“I have been hearing people say that a weak side has arrived for the series,” he was quoted as saying by The International News. “The PCB did not ask anyone to send a weak team. We had asked West Indies to tour Pakistan.
“We played better cricket and credit must be given to our side. Our players deserve to be appreciated for their performances because they played exceptionally well. It would be wrong to say that a ‘B side’ had come.
“Eight players from this touring squad were part of the last West Indies tour. Four of them were part of the PSL. I don’t think this was a weak side. We played better.”
Given the success of the series, Sarfraz is confident that more international teams will start touring Pakistan in the near future.
“I don’t think teams have any excuses left for not coming to Pakistan anymore,” he said. “Even today, the crowd turnout was massive, despite this match being the third game of the series. People of Karachi have proved to the world that cricket can be played in Pakistan, so the teams should not be looking for any excuses to not tour Pakistan.
“An ICC World XI side has come to Pakistan, we have had the PSL final [in Karachi], and before that Sri Lanka came to Pakistan. So I expect no team will be using security concerns as an excuse in the future. This year or the next year, [international] cricket will come back to Pakistan.
“No praises can do justice to the discipline the Karachiites have shown. They have braved all the hurdles to come to the stadium. My family had also come to watch the matches in the stadium and they told me about the problems that the people had to face on their way here.
“We should praise the efforts they made. The crowd was to its full capacity today. Likewise, we should also thank the security forces and intelligence agencies for their services. The PCB also deserves credit for all of their efforts.”