Sarfaraz Ahmed – The former captain in all formats
Control is an illusion. If you don’t believe me ask Sarfaraz Ahmed, the former captain of Pakistan’s cricket team of all-three formats. He is now even unable to get into a 22 men Pakistan cricket team squad against Zimbabwe visiting Pakistan for playing three ODIs and T20I games.
Sarfaraz Ahmed, who was once a hero for Pakistani fans and apple of the eye for PCB (Pakistan Cricket Board), as under his captaincy Pakistan won their only ICC Champions Trophy title, has suddenly transmuted to a liability for the team. Hence, a question pops up in the mind: Have we seen the last of Sarfaraz Ahmed?
Below I will try to delve into this possibility.
The resurgence of Muhammad Rizwan
Fortunately for Pakistan and unfortunately for Sarfaraz Ahmed, his competitor, Muhammad Rizwan, is not giving him any breathing space. Muhammad Rizwan has been performing consistently in all formats. Rizwan performed outstandingly during the recent National T20 tournament held in Pakistan.
He was the fourth highest run scorer. Moreover, in the recent Test series against England, he was the player of the tournament from Pakistan. So, both in limited and test cricket formats, Rizwan has been exceptional. Additionally, Rizwan is younger than Sarfaraz, and PCB is looking for a keeper who can serve Pakistan in longer run.
Pakistan’s farewell tradition
Pakistan is notorious for giving a spoiled farewell to its cricketers. Shahid Afridi, Abdul Razzaq, Muhammad Yousaf, Shoaib Akhtar, and many more can affirm you that, each with their own story. Most of these cricketers announced their retirement on the internet or media, without being given the opportunity to play their last match. Sarfaraz Ahmed who is trying his best to get into the side and end his career on a high note, must be well aware of this custom.
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Declining relationship with PCB
Sarfaraz Ahmed is no longer the first choice as a wicket keeper for PCB. This was observable during the Pakistan tour to England where Sarfaraz Ahmed was kept aside on the bench for the entire tournament except the final T20 match in which he hadn’t had the opportunity to bat. He himself showed his frustration and even asked the head coach Misbah-ul-Haq to drop him from the final game as well.
The media power
Reselection into Pakistan’s cricket team is not a simple proposition at all. Only performance is not enough, you have to have many unconventional means and luck for that. One such medium is excessive pressure by the media. For example, Fawad Alam, who was given a chance after 10 years and 259 days because of rigorous campaign on media by journalist and Fawad’s fans on social media after his record breaking performance in the first-class cricket. This, though he had been performing for all these years.
On the other hand, Kamran Akmal who has been top performer since the beginning of PSL is yet to obtain a proper chance into the national side. His exclusion has not stirred any debate on media. Unfortunately for Sarfaraz, not only his performance is not up to the mark, but also there is not enough support for him in the media.
Sarfaraz Ahmed has been a great servant to Pakistan cricket team. However, after taking the role of captaincy, his batting performance has declined drastically. This is the major reason for his exclusion from the team. On the other hand his competitor, Muhammad Rizwan, is quickly establishes himself firmly in the team.
Additionally, with the unconventional reselection methods being followed in Pakistan along with some peculiar treatment in the past with some cricketers whom were at the end of their careers, the chances of Sarfaraz Ahmed’s return seems quiet bleak. Rizwan seems first choice for now.
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