Sarfaraz Ahmed should be relieved from Test captaincy, reckon Pakistan greats Shahid Afridi and Zaheer Abbas

Both the cricketers feel that the captaincy across three formats is affecting Sarfaraz.

Sarfraz Ahmed
Sarfraz Ahmed. (Photo by Shaun Roy/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

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Sarfaraz Ahmed has come under severe criticism for the way Pakistani team performed in the ICC World Cup 2019. The Men in Green struggled for a good start, losing their first three matches on the trot including the one to India, in which Ahmed’s decision to bowl first after winning the toss was even mocked by PM Imran Khan.

After the retirement of Misbah-ul-Haq in 2017, Sarfaraz has been the captain of the team in all the three formats. While under his captaincy, the team did well in the ODI, winning the ICC Champions Trophy in 2017, they have slipped to seventh ranking in the ICC Test rankings, something that has become a concern to a couple of former Pakistani players, who are the legends of the game.

Captaining three formats is a big burden

Former Pakistani players Zaheer Abbas, who was dubbed as the Asian Bradman during his playing days and is the only Asian batsman with 100 FC centuries and Shahid Afridi, one of the finest all-rounders the game has seen, have opined that Sarfaraz Ahmed will be better off as captain in white-ball format only.

“I think it would be better for him if Sarfaraz didn’t become the Test captain because I think captaining in three formats is a big burden for him. He is naturally inclined to be a successful captain in the limited over cricket formats,” Afridi was quoted as saying by the Hindu. He felt that Sarfaraz was under the enormous pressure of captaining across formats and that may have started to affect his batting as well.

Zaheer Abbas meanwhile was quoted saying, “I don’t think he can manage the pressure of captaining in three formats. He would be better off only managing the ODI and T20 formats. Test cricket is the most difficult format in cricket and it is not easy captaining in this format. Sarfaraz should be allowed to focus on 50-overs and T20 cricket.”

He urged the Pakistani selectors to look elsewhere in order to make someone captain of the team in the five-day format. Abbas was also not happy with Misbah handling two profiles of the head coach and chief selector, saying that the posts should be mutually exclusive. “I think there will be a lot of pressure on Misbah handling both things plus he doesn’t have coaching experience at the top level,” he added.

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