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Pakistan head coach Mickey Arthur believes that Safraz Ahmed is getting increasingly better as captain, but admitted that he needs to score more runs in Test cricket.
Arthur’s comments come after Pakistan drew 1-1 with England in the two-Test series, where Sarfraz only scored 31 runs at an average of 10.33.
While Arthur is confident that Sarfraz will have success with the bat in the future, he has been highly impressed with the way the 31-year-old has led the national team.
“I feel that Sarfaraz is coping really well,” he told PakPassion. “He hasn’t got the amount of runs that he would have liked to have accumulated and he knows that. But, he will bounce back certainly in Test cricket.
“I feel that his captaincy is getting better and better tactically on the field. And we need to be mindful that this is a very tough job to captain in all formats of the game, keeping wickets as well as batting in the top 6 in games as well. That is a hell of a tough job for anyone.
“I have been fortunate to work with a lot of very good captains in my time but the way Sarfaraz leads these boys and the respect he has in the dressing room, and the way the boys respond to him, his balance of firmness on the field and friendship off the field is as good as I have ever seen.
“People never see that but Sarfaraz carries that balance on and off the field so very well. We just need to give him some breathing space here. He is also working exceptionally hard on his fitness and he never shirks from any training. I have no doubts that he is the right man to lead the team and that he will get runs sooner rather than later.”
Meanwhile, Arthur admitted that he is uncertain about what the future holds for batsman Fawad Alam, but hinted that it is unlikely he will be able to break into the Test side.
Many former cricketers voiced their displeasure towards the fact that Alam had been snubbed for the recent tours of Ireland and England.
Alam has been one of the most consistent performers on the domestic circuit as his average for the past four seasons of the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy has been 40.71, 55.54, 56 and 71.90.
“That’s a tough one. I guess the answer right now is that I am not sure,” Arthur said. “What I will say is that the doors are not closed on any player. But if we look at the way we are going with our Test line-up, if we have Azhar Ali and Imam-ul-Haq at the top, then Haris, Asad and Babar and we are only going for 5 batsmen then it’s tough for anyone to get into that side.
“On top of that, the pressure on incumbents is big as well to maintain their position. What we are trying to do is to create a ‘depth chart’ so we know who the best players are for each position and who is the next deserving player for that same position which is something Inzamam and I will always discuss so we know where we are at.
“I will also say again that the door isn’t closed for anyone; everybody has an equal opportunity to play for Pakistan and we are very open-minded with that.”