KARACHI: Pakistan’s wicketkeeper-batsman Sarfaraz Ahmed is determined to play across all three formats after experiencing a splendid Test series against Sri Lanka, where he finished as the highest scorer for his team.
The 27-year-old rising star had been a prolific run-getter at the domestic level, but has finally started showing his real potential at the highest level as he scored 265 runs in two Tests at a staggering average of 88.33. He finished just behind Sri Lankan great Kumar Sangakkara (323) to finish as overall highest scorer.
Sarfaraz’s first-class track record can be deemed impressive, with the Karachi-based player accumulating 5,295 runs from 101 first-class matches at an average of 41.36, which includes eight centuries and 39 fifties. The batsman also has 358 dismissals to his name.
“My aim is to play and do well in all three formats for Pakistan whenever given the opportunity in the future,” Sarfaraz told The Express Tribune.
“The Test series against Sri Lanka had been an amazing experience for me because I was able to show glimpses of my potential. The most important thing for a player is to perform when your team needs you and now I’ve realised the satisfaction a player gets by performing in crunch situations in international cricket.”
So far, he has played eight Tests, scoring 488 runs at an average of 32.53 with one century and four fifties and has 20 dismissals on his résumé.
His one-day record is average so far, with just 201 runs at an average of 18.27 from 15 innings in 26 one-dayers. In the T20Is, Sarfaraz has batted just once.
Herath’s tormentor in Test series
In the Sri Lanka series, Sarfaraz was Pakistan’s most dominant batsman against Rangana Herath and others, scoring his maiden Test ton and three half-centuries in four innings with a high strike rate of 74.22.
“I backed my natural game throughout the series and it helped me score consistently,” said Sarfaraz. “The idea was to get set initially and then score runs, which enabled me to put the pressure on Sri Lankan bowlers. I attacked Herath and did not allow him to settle, and it worked for me because he was their best bowler.”
The former U19 Captain, who led the junior team to glory in the 2005 World Cup, said that the feeling of scoring his first century was special and cannot be described in words.
While thanking those who supported him through thick and thin, he stressed that his top priority is to improve as a wicketkeeper and chip in with runs whenever he can for Pakistan.
“I wouldn’t have been able to perform without the support of our Pakistan Cricket Club head Azam Khan, Rashid Latif, Moin Khan, Nadeem Omar, Zafar Ahmed and former KCCA secretary Sirajul Islam Bokhari because they kept believing in me throughout all ups and downs.”
Published in The Express Tribune, August 21st, 2014.
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