Sarfraz Ahmed to lead Pakistan in 2019 World Cup


LAHORE: The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on Tuesday announced that Sarfraz Ahmed will continue captaining the Pakistan cricket team in the upcoming 2019 Cricket World Cup.

Addressing a press conference, PCB Chairman Ehsan Mani praised Sarfraz for his skills as a captain and a cricketer.

“Sarfraz has made great progress since he led the team in the Under-19 World Cup, he has only improved with time,” Mani said as he recalled the time when the cricketer first came into the limelight while leading Pakistan’s team to victory in the 2006 Under-19 World Cup against India.

“There should be no doubt that Sarfraz is the Pakistan cricket team’s captain. He will lead the team in the series against Australia and also in the World Cup,” the PCB chairman said.

Mani added: “ I was always clear in my mind that Sarfraz would be the captain. Sarfraz has been an integral part of the Pakistan’s World Cup preparations. He has proved to be a good strategist, leader and performer.”

“He led Pakistan to Champions Trophy 2017 title as well as to top of the International Cricket Council’s Twenty20 International rankings,” Mani said.

“Sarfraz has reiterated his commitment to the Pakistan cricket team as well as his availability and enthusiasm to captain the team at the World Cup.”

Sarfraz, who accompanied Mani at the press briefing, said that he was grateful for the opportunity to lead Pakistan cricket team in the upcoming World Cup.

“I feel proud to be joining the list of cricketers that led the Pakistan cricket team into world cups in the past. We will try our best to perform well there,” he said.

“There is only one captain of the Pakistan cricket team and it will remain so,” Mani said, while dispelling rumours that there may be a change in the team’s leadership ahead of the World Cup.

Answering a question regarding these rumours, the skipper said, “Since I started captaining the team, I did not think so far ahead into the future and worry about if I would be the team’s captain in a year’s time or not. I focused on my responsibilities on a series-to-series basis and will continue to do so.”

“In the lead up to the World Cup, Pakistan will play five ODIs each against Australia and England, which will also allow us the opportunity to further fine-tune our preparations. I am sure we’ll prove ourselves at the World Cup.”

Since making his debut against India in Jaipur in November 2007, Sarfraz, 31, has played in 101 One-Day Internationals, including 35 as captain. He has scored 1,942 runs at just under 33 and has dismissed 121 batsmen behind the wickets. As captain, he has won 21 matches.

Sarfraz played three matches in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015, finishing with 160 runs as an opener. He also caught six batsmen at the wicket.