KARACHI: Pakistan’s fast-rising cricketer Sarfraz Ahmed has welcomed the addition of wicketkeeper-batsman Muhammad Rizwan in the ODI and T20I squads for the tour of Bangladesh this month.
Despite Sarfraz’s exceptional run in the World Cup, the national selection committee has inducted in-form Rizwan as the middle-order batsman to strengthen the batting line-up.
Peshawar-based Rizwan is considered a potential star batsman, but there remain question marks on his wicketkeeping ability.
Asked how Sarfraz sees the induction of Rizwan and whether he would want to substitute his gloves for batting, he replied, “It’s a good sign that there is another wicketkeeper and it will only intensify a healthy competition. I’m taking it as a positive challenge and I feel everyone should see it positively as well. My priority would be to do well with both the gloves and the bat.”
Speaking to reporters in Lahore during the training camp for the Bangladesh tour, Sarfraz added that he is ready to bat on any number the team management would ask him to, and that he can bat as an opener, in the middle-order and even at number seven if required.
After being kept out on the sidelines for four matches by the team management in the recently concluded World Cup, Sarfraz impressed in his first outing against South Africa by scoring a quickfire 49 and also equalled the world record of taking six catches in an innings of a World Cup.
The 27-year-old also scored the only century for Pakistan in the World Cup in the group match against Ireland, which was also the first ton by a Pakistani since the 2007 edition.
Sarfraz pleased with vice-captain post
Sarfraz’s exceptional run in 2014 and performances in the World Cup made him the front-runner for ODI captaincy along with Azhar Ali, who eventually became the skipper and Sarfraz was named his understudy.
“It’s a good opportunity and honour for me to be the vice-captain of Pakistan. Azhar and I are good friends, so we are looking to guide this young team forward and the management is supporting the players as well,” he added.
The 27-year-old hopes that the likes of Azhar, Asad Shafiq and Fawad Alam will fill the void left by Misbahul Haq and Shahid Afridi’s retirement from the ODI format.
There was another question from one of the reporters that certain quarters hint that Sarfraz lost the captaincy race due to his preference of speaking in Urdu rather than English, to which he replied, “I don’t have any problem in understanding or speaking English. I believe the captaincy decision is PCB’s to make, on whatever criteria they deem important.”
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