ISLAMABAD: Insisting that the dressing room environment of the present national team is extremely good, Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed has said that every player has the hunger to win to make the country’s name proud.
Sarfraz, who led Pakistan to a memorable victory in the coveted ICC Champions Trophy final against India at The Oval in June this year, said every individual was working hard to perform well and as a result a healthy competition was developing among them.
“The dressing room environment of our team is extremely good; every player now wants to contribute his part in taking Pakistan to victory through his performance. Therefore, I think the future of this team is very bright,” the 30-year-old Sarfraz said while talking to a private news channel.
Responding to a question, the gutsy wicketkeeper/batsman said he had very good understanding with head coach Mickey Arthur as well as chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq.
“Arthur is working hard on the players and hopefully his hard work will pay off,” the skipper, who now has 38 Tests, 80 ODIs and 35 T20 Internationals to his credit, said.
Sarfraz, under whose captaincy Pakistan after losing the two-Test series to Sri Lanka 0-2 in the UAE recorded 5-0 ODI and 3-0 T20 clean sweeps against the same country last month, said Inzamam gave top priority to his (captain’s) say and supported him all the way.
Speaking about the January 2018 tour to New Zealand where Pakistan are scheduled to play five ODIs and three T20 Internationals, Sarfraz said, “Though conditions in New Zealand will be tough but we have planned in going there prior to the series to play practice matches in order to get accustomed to the conditions.”
Commenting on him batting at number six spot, Sarfraz said there are many talented players in the national team and “therefore we should benefit from their game in the top order”.
“[Experienced players] Shoaib Malik, Mohammad Hafeez and [fast-improving] youngster Babar Azam have been performing tremendously well in the top order,” noted the skipper.
Sarfraz praised Army, Police, Pakistan Cricket Board and all the other stakeholders whose efforts he said helped in reviving international cricket in Pakistan.
Meanwhile, Sarfraz rejected a recent claim made by Sri Lankan Test captain Dinesh Chandimal who said that ‘witchcraft’ made his team win the recently-held Test series against Pakistan.
Chandimal in a media conference said that he had received a special blessing from a meyni, or sorcerer, ahead of the series in the UAE.
“I am always ready to accept the blessings of anyone — whether it is a meyni or any clergy,” Chandimal told reporters after returning to Colombo.
Refusing to accept Chandimal’s word, Sarfraz insisted that Pakistan’s poor batting performance in the series was the reason Sri Lanka won the two Tests.
“If witchcraft was the reason [of Sri Lanka’s Test series triumph] then they should have won the ODI and T20 series as well,” the Pakistan captain argued. “There is magic in the world but we just batted badly and lost our chances to win.”
Published in Dawn, November 4th, 2017