‘Obviously it is difficult’: Former Pakistan skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed talks about his comeback
Pakistan Cricket Board announced a large 29-member squad for their three Tests and three T20Is in England, starting next month. There was one surprise in the squad which was the selection of former Pakistan captain Sarfaraz Ahmed, who made a comeback nearly eight months after his ouster. An extended squad, including white-ball specialists,was named in accordance with series SOPs in the wake of Covid-19. The new rules demand all the travelling players to remain in England from start to finish.
Two players batsman Haris Sohail and Mohammad Amir pulled out of the series due to personal reasons. While Sohail pulled out of the tour because his family was not being comfortable about him touring England in the existing scenario, Amir decided to stay in Pakistan due to the expected birth of his second child in August.
Sarfaraz revealed that PCB left it to the players to make the final call on travelling to England for the Test and T20 series.
“PCB CEO, Wasim Khan spoke individually to each player and made it clear that if we had any reservations about going to England in the Covid-19 situation we should let him know without any fear.”He left the final call to us and obviously all of us must have spoken to our families before deciding to go,” he said in a media interaction on Saturday.
Asked about his comeback to the national squad after being removed as captain and player from the national team in all three formats, Sarfaraz said it was a learning process for him.
“Obviously it is difficult to make a comeback after you have once been a regular member of the team and then dropped.”But I think the good thing is soon after I was dropped I got busy playing in domestic cricket and then the Pakistan Super League and that helped me a lot keep my focus on cricket and not let negativity enter my mind,” he said.
To a question, Sarfaraz said he might have made some mistakes as captain and he was disappointed but insisted he never thought about leaving the game after the way he was dropped from the team.
“I will try to not repeat the same mistakes and the good thing is as captain I was never arrogant or thought myself as different from the other players in the team.”We have all shared the same dressing room and we all know each other well so it wouldn’t be a problem adjusting back into the team under someone else’s captaincy,” he said.
He admitted that being captain meant that he had to take pressure and he couldn’t think much about his own game and was always thinking about the other players, their performances and the results.
“Now as a player I think I can give more time and focus on my own game and try to play my part in helping the team get good results.”He also said the period he was out of the team, he received a lot of support.
“I realised that one has to come across such ups and downs in one’s career and it is part of life. The break has allowed me to relax and also work a lot more on my fitness,” he said.
Sarfaraz insisted that he had no issues with Muhammad Rizwan now being the number one wicketkeeper in the team and he being the second choice.
“In the 90s also there was a lot of competition between Moin Khan and Rashid Latif and in periods whoever was number one got preference. If I get a chance to play again in England I am prepared and will try to give my best.”He also described the coaching staff of Misbah-ul-Haq, Younis Khan, Waqar Younis and Mushtaq Ahmed as the strongest coaching team he had ever seen with the national side.
“It is the best coaching staff given their combined experience and I think it will help the players a lot in England on such a long tour. It is a good opportunity for players and they should take advantage of the experience of the coaches.”
(with PTI inputs)