Pakistan limited-overs captain Sarfraz Ahmed believes right-handed batsman Kamran Akmal will come good for the team in the West Indies.
Kamran, 35, is currently one of Pakistan’s best bet for the opening spots, alongside right-handed batsman Ahmad Shahzad, after they were left vacant following left-handed batsman Sharjeel Khan’s suspension during the Pakistan Super League (PSL) spot-fixing scandal. Former ODI captain Azhar Ali, Sharjeel’s opening partner, has not been included as well.
Kamran’s domestic record in the last three years, away from the international team, speaks volumes about the batsman’s revived run-scoring ability. He was the top-scorer with 1,035 run and an average of 79.61 in the last Quaid-e-Azam Trophy, the country’s first-class domestic tournament. Moreover, he also bagged three awards courtesy his glove work and batting performances in PSL2 — the man-of-the-tournament, the best batsman and the best wicketkeeper.
"We are all impressed with Kamran's performance," said Sarfraz as quoted by ESPNcricinfo. "The way he has been scoring runs continuously over the last two years is outstanding. With his recent form in the PSL, I am optimistic that he can carry his form here [in West Indies] and contribute and win it for Pakistan."
Youngsters a sign of hope
Pakistani players arrived in West Indies and a few new-look players have made their way into the limited-overs squads after impressing in the PSL. They will be facing the Caribbean giants on their home turf with some high-profile veterans too and Sarfraz thinks it is a sign of good things to come.
"It's an important series…," said Sarfraz. "PSL is an advantage as the boys come here on the back of playing T20 cricket. Many players who performed have been rewarded. I think it's a good sign that the PSL is happening and players who are performing in the domestic circuit are being selected. [Leg-spinner] Shadab [Khan] did well, so did [left-arm pacer] Usman [Shinwari], so it's good to have top performers such as these boys coming through; this event is helping us unearth talent."
‘CPL experience will matter’
Sarfraz, who is leading Pakistan in his first-ever four-match T20I series, deems senior players’ Caribbean Premier League (CPL) experience vital during their tour.
"Four to five senior players have been playing their league [the CPL] in the West Indies and this is an advantage,” he said. “It's a good thing for us that these boys can easily adjust in these conditions."
The 29-year-old added that the team morale was not affected by the recent PSL spot-fixing fiasco. "The morale of our team is very good and boys are working hard," he said.
Pakistan play three ODIs and as many Tests after the four-match T20I series against West Indies.
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