Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Pakistan chief selector Mohammad Wasim said Sarfaraz Ahmed is the most deserving and in-form back-up for wicketkeeper-batsman Mohammad Rizwan.
Sarfaraz used to be Pakistan’s go-to wicketkeeper-batsman before Rizwan overtook him.
Given that Sarfaraz was the fifth-highest run-scorer in the Pakistan Super League (PSL) with 185 runs in five games for the Quetta Gladiators, which included two half-centuries, at an average of 37 and a strike-rate of 146.82, Wasim noted that he is the best option if Rizwan were to get injured.
“We gave careful thought to this situation before the Pakistan Super League and came to the conclusion that Sarfaraz has been a very important part of the team for a long time,” Wasim told PakPassion.
“So, you want to make sure that if any chances come up then you are giving the chance to the most deserving and in-form person and that at the moment is Sarfaraz. We were also looking at the roles of the prospective replacement wicketkeepers and where they could bat.
“We know what Rizwan is capable of but we needed to look at what would happen if Rizwan gets injured and where any replacement would fit in. We wanted to look at the complete picture, including the strike-rate of the various options.”
Like Rizwan, Sarfaraz has been included in the Test, ODI and T20 squads for Pakistan’s tour of South Africa and Zimbabwe.
Pakistan will play three ODIs and four T20 Internationals against South Africa before heading to Zimbabwe for two Tests and three T20 Internationals.
Pakistan departed for South Africa on March 26 and the tour will commence on April 2 and conclude on April 16. The ODI series will be played first.
The men in green will then head to Zimbabwe on April 17, but the dates for the matches have yet to be confirmed.
However, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) noted that the national team will travel back to Lahore from Bulawayo on May 12.
Pakistan’s Test Squad: Babar Azam (capt), Imran Butt, Abid Ali, Abdullah Shafique, Azhar Ali, Fawad Alam, Saud Shakeel, Agha Salman, Faheem Ashraf, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Sarfaraz Ahmed, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Haris Rauf, Tabish Khan, Hasan Ali, Shahnawaz Dhani, Nauman Ali, Zahid Mahmood, Sajid Khan.
Pakistan’s ODI Squad: Babar Azam (capt), Imam-ul-Haq, Fakhar Zaman, Abdullah Shafique, Haider Ali, Danish Aziz, Saud Shakeel, Faheem Ashraf, Mohammad Wasim Jr, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Sarfaraz Ahmed (wk), Shaheen Shah Afridi, Haris Rauf, Mohammad Hasnain, Usman Qadir, Hasan Ali.
Pakistan’s T20 Squad: Babar Azam (capt), Shadab Khan, Sharjeel Khan, Mohammad Hafeez, Haider Ali, Danish Aziz, Asif Ali, Mohammad Nawaz, Faheem Ashraf, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Sarfaraz Ahmed (wk), Shaheen Shah Afridi, Mohammad Wasim Jr, Haris Rauf, Mohammad Hasnain, Usman Qadir, Hasan Ali, Arshad Iqbal.