Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Ehsan Mani has confirmed that Sarfraz Ahmed will captain the national team at the World Cup later this year.
Sarfraz was recently handed a four-match suspension by the International Cricket Council (ICC) for his controversial comment to South Africa all-rounder Andile Phehlukwayo during the recently concluded ODI series.
In the 37th over of the second ODI in Durban, the broadcast stump mic picked up Sarfraz speaking in Urdu.
The 31-year-old was heard saying: “Abey kaale, teri ammi aaj kahaan baitheen hain? Kya parwa ke aaye hai aaj?”.
Translated into English, it means: “Hey black guy, where’s your mother sitting today? What [prayer] have you got her to say for you today?”
There was speculation that the PCB would remove Sarfraz as captain ahead of the World Cup, and the board even said it would appoint captains on a “series-by-series basis”.
However, Mani has now put an end to the rumours, saying Sarfraz will be retained as captain.
He also confirmed that Sarfraz’s role as captain will be re-evaluated after the tournament concludes in July.
“I am happy to confirm that Sarfraz will remain Pakistan captain till the World Cup,” Mani was quoted as saying by PakPassion. “I was always clear in my mind that Sarfraz 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.
“Sarfraz has reiterated his commitment to the Pakistan cricket team as well as his availability and enthusiasm to captain the team at the World Cup.
“Sarfraz 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.
“He led Pakistan to the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 title as well as to the top of the ICC Twenty20 International 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.
“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.”
Sarfraz was pleased that Mani and the PCB continued to have faith in him as captain and vowed to do his best to lead Pakistan to World Cup glory.
“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,” he said.
“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.
“In the lead up to the World Cup, Pakistan will play five ODIs each against Australia and England, which will also allow us the opportunity to further fine-tune our preparations. I am sure we’ll give a good account of ourselves at the World Cup.”