Sarfraz accepts Pakistan T20 captaincy challenge

Karachi, April 6 (IANS) Newly-appointed Pakistan T20 captain Sarfraz Ahmed has accepted the responsibility as a huge challenge in the wake of disappointing results during the recent Asia Cup and the World T20.

The wicket-keeper-batsman was on Tuesday named by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) as successor to struggling all-rounder Shahid Afridi. He pledged to create a cordial atmosphere among the players in the team.

“Leading your country is the biggest honour because out of the lot just a few get this opportunity. Having been the vice-captain for almost one year in both one-day and T20 formats, I have had the chance of monitoring the situation from game to game,” Sarfraz told Dawn on Tuesday.

The 28-year-old admitted that Pakistan had been going through difficult times but pledged his entire focus on improving the performance of the team.

“Obviously this hurts because not long ago we were the top T20 side in the world. Our aim will be rectify this downslide and to achieve this objective collective efforts to be made by all of us to raise a good, competitive Pakistan team,” he added.

Sarfraz said his primary focus would be on solving the many issues within the team and would put the collective cause above petty personal egos.

“I believe in unity and that’s would be main motto as captain. Ever since I started playing cricket, I have been taught to show respect all people, regardless of their ages,” he said.

“And having been part of Pakistan cricket, I have been through many ups and downs as a player and know how one feels if he is unwanted. This, certainly, is not my style of playing the game. And if you are the leader then one has to set examples for the others so that all of them contribute to a team goal.

“In my book a senior player is just as important as a junior guy. I have utmost respects for the senior players and always look upon them for inspiration.”

Sarfraz remained confident of camaraderie and support from his players.

“Fortunately there is a considerable period before Pakistan play next T20 International (against England at Old Trafford on Sept 70 and this will help me and the team management to plan accordingly.”

“But it doesn’t mean, we are going to relax because there is a very tough tour of Test and one-day tour of England coming up before the T20 fixture. As the ODI vice-captain, I have obligations on that front also. Azhar Ali as skipper has done a fair job and I have been helping him out as much I can. One never stops learning as you move ahead in life and both Azhar and me are going through this process.”

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