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‘Sarfaraz’s fine captaincy led Pakistan to victory,’ says former chief selector

Updated June 25, 2019

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Sarfaraz Ahmed leads the team from the field as they celebrate after they defeated South Africa by 49 runs in their Cricket World Cup match between Pakistan and South Africa at Lord's cricket ground in London on Sunday. — AP
Sarfaraz Ahmed leads the team from the field as they celebrate after they defeated South Africa by 49 runs in their Cricket World Cup match between Pakistan and South Africa at Lord's cricket ground in London on Sunday. — AP

KARACHI: “Pakistan regrouped superbly and skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed led brilliantly to earn a fantastic win over South Africa in the crucial World Cup game on Sunday,” stated former chief selector Salahuddin Ahmed Sallu on Monday.

Sallu, who had suggested the name of Haris Sohail a day before the match as a replacement for the struggling Shoaib Malik against Proteas, gave full credit to Sarfaraz for his strong leadership in Pakistan victory. “All his [Sarfaraz’s] decisions proved fruitful in Sunday’s game,” said Sallu while speaking to the media. “Batting first at Lord’s, selecting Haris in place of Shoaib Malik, taking the review against Hashim Amla and shrewd bowling changes were fabulous moves by Sarfaraz which paid off handsomely.”

“It clearly appeared in the Proteas match that Sarfaraz was his own man and was not under anyone’s pressure. The team performed as a unit and, despite the six dropped catches, stuck to its guns and won the contest convincingly,” said the former Test player.

Sallu, however, added that Pakistan still have a lot to do to in the World Cup to envisage an outside chance of making the semis. “We have to remain focused and competitive to get the better of New Zealand, which is at the top of the table, and against Bangladesh which is playing very well in this tournament,” observed Sallu.

Read: 'No more dropped catches,' urge Twitterati after Pakistan keep World Cup dream alive

He further said that whatever the outcome of Pakistan’s campaign, it was imperative for the team to get rid of the under-performing coaches such as bowling coach Azhar Mahmood, Head Coach Mickey Arthur and fielding coach Grant Bradburn. “These coaches have erred in a big way and must be taken to task as they have just not been able to prepare or groom the team for this competitive World Cup in the year and a half that they were supposed to,” he lamented.

“The lack of discipline is another area that needs to be examined,” he said. “How could the players lounge around at the ‘sheesha cafe’ so late in the night or break the hotel curfew at will? This clearly shows that the team manager is a weak person who has failed to control things.”

Published in Dawn, June 25th, 2019