Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has confirmed that Sarfaraz Ahmed will remain captain of Pakistan Cricket team till 2019 Cricket World Cup. PCB has announced this news to put an end to rumors about captaincy of Sarfaraz Ahmed. International Cricket Council (ICC) had suspended Sarfaraz Ahmed for four matches under anti-racism code of conduct. PCB has supported Sarfaraz Ahmed by naming him skipper of Pakistan men’s cricket team for ICC Cricket World Cup 2019, scheduled to run from 30th May to 14th July 2019.
PCB Chairman Ehsan Mani said: “Sarfaraz has been an integral part of the Pakistan cricket team’s World Cup preparations and has proved to be a good strategist, leader and performer. He led Pakistan to the Champions Trophy 2017 title as well as to top of the ICC T20I rankings. I am happy to confirm that Sarfaraz will remain Pakistan captain till the World Cup. I was always clear in my mind that Sarfaraz would be the captain. His achievements and contributions as a captain and as a valuable all-round cricketer cannot be undermined or overlooked because of the team’s recent Test results.”
Ehsan Mani praised Sarafraz Ahmed for leading Pakistan cricket team in all three formats of cricket, a rare quality as most teams have separate captains for different formats. Mr Mani revealed that he had met Sarfaraz Ahmed in 2006 ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup in Colombo. He remembered how Sarfaraz had led Pakistan to victory in final, by dismissing India for 71 after being restricted to 109 runs. He said that Sarfaraz has contributed well for Pakistan and has leadership ability as he has captained the under-19, PIA and Pakistan sides.
Ehsan Mani backed Sarfaraz Ahmed by stating: “Nobody should doubt him as captain. He is captain and will remain captain until next decision is taken. Yes, questions have been raised about the performances but in a bigger picture results have been good so far. I spoke to selectors, coaches, director operations and the entire board is behind him. I am confident he will continue the good work with Mickey Arthur and Inzamam-ul-Haq so that the team is in the best possible shape and form to produce strong performances at the World Cup.”
Pakistan are set to contest 10 ODIs ahead of 2019 World Cup. Pakistan will host Australia for 5-match ODI series in UAE starting in late March 2019. PCB has proposed to Cricket Australia to consider playing a couple of games in Pakistan, in effort to bring cricket back to the troubled country. Pakistan will then tour England for five ODI matches in May 2019 right before Cricket World Cup 2019.
Sarfaraz Ahmed described: “This support has always been there and I’m thankful for the reassurance. It is a big honour for me to lead Pakistan at World Cup and stand among those who did in past people like Imran Khan, Wasim Akram, Shahid Afridi, Misbah-ul-Haq. I am convinced we are in a good shape for the World Cup. We have top quality talent and match-winners with a committed support staff in the dressing room. Everyone is geared up and keenly looking forward to returning to the country where we won the last major ICC tournament. Pressure is always there during captaincy. But with the chairman and board’s support I feel motivated more than ever. I now would like to transfer the same to the team for the upcoming Australia series and World Cup.”