LAHORE: Newly-appointed captain of the Pakistan one-day team Sarfraz Ahmed has defended selection of new players for the all-important West Indies tour and said senior players should also play their due role.
While talking to reporters here on Friday, Sarfraz said all youngsters like Fakhar Zaman, Asif Zakir, Usman Shinwari and Mohammad Asghar were selected after excelling on domestic scene and he had high expectations for their future.
The skipper added that his side will be relying on the experience of players like Shoaib Malik and Mohammad Hafeez.
He said there was no pressure of captaincy on him and he was happy that Kamran Akmal had made a comeback to the national side.
“We all decided that Kamran’s good form should be utilised in the Pakistan team and if he performs, it will good for the country. We may send him to bat in top order,” he said.
“Kamran returned to the side after performing in domestic cricket and PSL 2. Another wicket-keeper Mohammad Rizwan had been part of the side with me in the past but that never put me under any kind of pressure. I always focused on my performance,” said Sarfraz, 29, who is also Pakistan’s T20 captain and is tipped to be the next Test captain after the West Indies tour in place of Misbah-ul-Haq.
To a question, he said he had good interaction with all players and he was working hard on his wicket-keeping because it would help him improve his batting.
Sarfraz admitted that Sharjeel Khan would be missed on the tour as he had cemented his place in the ODI team and he was a player of modern day cricket.
Asked in the absence of Sharjeel, a senior opener like Azhar Ali could have been a better choice, Sarfraz said Azhar was still the main player of the Pakistan team.
“Azhar is our main player but this time we have decided to give chances to youngsters and Azhar may return to the side for the ICC Champions Trophy in England this year,” he said.
He said it was always an honour for a cricketer to lead a national team or play as its member and added that he was getting complete support from the PCB and his seniors, which was encouraging.
He admitted that Pakistan’s performance in ODI cricket had not been satisfactory during the last two years and his team could come out of it if they do not repeat their mistakes.
“We have been dropping catches, allowing the rivals to put up big scores. We have to overcome this problem,” he maintained.
He said Pakistan would try to score 290 to 300 runs in the West Indies and then bowlers had to take quick wickets.
Sarfraz said fast bowling department of the T20 side comprised mostly youngsters while the ODI team had experienced bowlers like Wahab Riaz, Mohammad Amir and Hassan Ali and claimed both teams had good combination of players.