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At last, something to cheer about

Sarfraz’s brilliant performance against South Africa gave me a lot of happiness as I was once a teammate of his. He was not even 14 when he played a match of under-19 tournament with us at National Stadium Academy ground, but he was supremely confident and undaunted by anyone. Many people, including me, expected him to be a future star for Pakistan. And we were not wrong, you have seen in the past 12 months or so. 

I remember he used to use a very heavy bat, despite having a modest physique. I don’t know what type of bat he uses now.

The selectors of Pakistan cricket team have been very unfair to him over the past seven years. He made his debut in 2007, but has played only 37 ODIs. Similarly, he made his Test debut in 2010. But has only 13 Test caps so far.

Much less talented players were given opportunities in these years, which was unjust not only to him, but also to the country. It has been beyond my comprehension why Adnan Akmal was given so many chances. Adnan is nowhere near Sarfraz, at least in batting skills and neither is he a better wicket keeper.

Sarfraz averages over 42 runs in first class cricket, way ahead of Adnan’s 26. In 127 first class matches, Adnan has only four centuries, while Sarfraz has 10 in only 106 matches.

Pakistan would have been served better in all these years had our selectors not done this injustice.

But let bygones be bygones. Now that he has proved himself a master batsman besides being a reliable man behind the stumps, there should be no more such follies. He should be consistently given chances now even if he fails in a match or two.

Just look at his Test record last year. He scored as many as three centuries and four half centuries. Not even Moin Khan managed such a feat although he too was a very good wicket-keeper batsman. Moin has only four centuries from as many as 69 matches.

Similarly, Zulqarnain Haider and Mohammad Salman were inferior to him, but still they managed to play for Pakistan abroad, while Sarfraz was piling runs at home.

Now look at his ODI scores before the match against South Africa: 22, 34, 65, 32, 26, 23, 30 not out, 18, 26, 5, 13. What more can one expect from a wicket keeper who is batting in the lower order! But still he was not used in the first four matches of Pakistan’s World Cup campaign.

One does not understand why this man who denied Sarfraz of his right has been given so high a post. First he destroyed the career of Shoaib Akhtar, then he went after Abdul Razzaq, who proved himself more resilient than Akhtar and managed to play till late 2013. He also forced Shahid Afridi who was leading the ODI team very well to quit captaincy.

His attitude during his cricketing career was also like this. He was the one who deprived Wasim Akram of captaincy in 1993 by forming a group of his own during the tour to West Indies. May the team get rid of this man soon!

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