After the debacle in Lahore, cricket fans received another bombshell. Pakistani skipper Safaraz Ahmed was sacked from Test and T20 formats due to drop in performance and overall form, thereby losing his place in the squad.
Pakistan have endured a difficult year, with a poor start to the World Cup group stage meaning that a late charge was not enough to secure their place in the semifinals. Sarfaraz’s sacking come in the wake of an embarrassing series defeat to a depleted Sri Lanka team.
While a decision on the captaincy for the 50-over format has been put on hold for now, Safaraz has been removed from the upcoming tour of Australia starting in November. The tour is crucial as Pakistan prepares for the T20 World Cup next year and will also play matches part of the World Test Championship.
Azhar Ali – who was the captain prior to Sarfaraz – has been brought back as the Test skipper. His recall has raised some eyebrows as he was discarded due to inconsistent performances, but has recently played well in domestic cricket. Babar Azam will take charge of the T20 side till the 2020 World Cup.
A separate captain for each format of the game is also a departure from previous coach Mickey Arthur’s strategy who insisted on having a single skipper. Arthur and was dismissed after the World Cup. The new coach-cum-chief selector Misbah-ul-Haq seems to have had a falling out with Sarfaraz. It is learnt that Sarfaraz was offered to resign but he denied and was thus unceremoniously dismissed.
Now Safaraz will be on the long route to redemption. Pakistan won the 2017 World Champions Trophy and has a high winning rate in T20 cricket under Sarfaraz. But he has performed consistently low and his removal became inevitable. The deterioration in his form was a real worry for the team as he never scored any memorable matching-winning knock.
Sarfaraz’s average scores under captaincy are below par, although the overall statistics are much more respectable. Since becoming captain, he has never scored a century, getting dismissed in the nervous 90s on several occasions.
Sarfaraz doesn’t belong to a privileged background and is liked for his humble personality. He has struggled to be a part of the national team. Captaincy is a huge responsibility and it’s time for him to take a break from international cricket. Sarfaraz needs to redeem himself first and then return to silence his critics.
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