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KARACHI: Terming the decision of naming Sarfraz Ahmed as national Twenty20 captain correct, former Pakistan captain Asif Iqbal on Thursday said the wicket-keeper to transform the deflated team into a winning unit will have to command respect from senior as well as junior players.

“Naming Sarfraz so far ahead of the next T20 International series [in England this September] is a bit surprising but I suppose with so much media outcry the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) took this option as a diversion. The choice is right and now Sarfraz has to command, and not demand, the respect his position deserves from one and all, seniors and juniors,” Asif from England told Dawn when asked whether the not-very-experienced Sarfraz would get the required authority, generally enjoyed by seasoned players if they are made captain in our culture.

“He will have to stamp his authority and not be dependent on media, a [specific] group of players and the PCB hierarchy,” Asif underlined.

Replying to the query whether the appointment of Sarfraz as captain could be seen as a positive change, given the big two — chairman Shaharyar Khan and executive committee chief Najam Sethi — were still there in the PCB despite facing heaps of criticism and pressure to quit, Asif insisted the new skipper would have to focus on his job regardless of who were in the Board officialdom.

“Shaharyar and Sethi have and/or should have nothing to do with the captain or players of the Pakistan team and I am sure they are aware of this. Both have named Sarfraz the captain and the new captain is the one who will have to make sure that he and his team start afresh,” he said.

Asif was categorical in responding to how Sarfraz could get wholehearted cooperation from the players, including seniors, who would play under the 28-year-old gloveman.

“Leaders are born and Sarfraz has been identified as one by the PCB. So, it is his duty to command the respect of seniors and juniors and to get the best out of all. I suggest one way of stamping his authority is to give the message to the team that he will not tolerate anyone not giving 100 per cent to the team. The moment Sarfraz sees or suspects anyone not giving his best, that player should be sent home immediately. That will give a very clear message of his authority and commitment to the cause,” emphasised Asif.

Meanwhile, former Test paceman Sarfraz Nawaz reckoned Sarfraz should be given the required authority to carry out his job as captain.

“Proper authority should be handed to Sarfraz for leading the team which will ensure sustained improvement,” said Sarfraz Nawaz when approached by Dawn to give his take on the T20 captaincy decision.

There was a great deal of time, noted the ex-fast bowler, before Pakistan play their next T20 (in England), and this would give Sarfraz time to prepare for the hard task.

“Pakistan’s tour to England this summer is still a few months away, and so this time can be utilised by Sarfraz to prepare and plan his and the team’s actions. Experienced players like Mohammad Hafeez can be employed to guide and coordinate with Sarfraz in this regard.”

Published in Dawn, April 8th, 2016

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