Published: August 7, 2020 5:05:29 pm
Even though Sarfaraz Ahmed was left out of the playing XI for the opening Test against England, the former Pakistan skipper made his presence felt on the pitch by performing the 12th-man duties. He was first seen carrying a pair of shoes for Shadab Khan after Mohammad Rizwan’s dismissal on Day 2 and later water bottles for his teammates, as the visitors held a firm grip on the proceedings.
However, the incident brought strong criticism against the team management, with former Pakistani cricketer Shoaib Akhtar terming it disrespectful.
During a panel discussion on Boss News, which also included Rashid Latif, the Rawalpindi Express asserted that a former captain shouldn’t be carrying shoes for a player. Taking notes from the incident, Akhtar also called Sarfaraz a timid man, who was always dominated by former Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur.
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“I didn’t like the visual. If you want to make an example out of a boy from Karachi, then it is wrong. You can’t do this to a player who has led Pakistan for four years and has won Champions Trophy for the country. You have made him carry the shoes. If he has done it himself, then stop him. Wasim Akram never brought shoes for me.”
“This shows that Sarfaraz is such a docile and weak man. He must have lead Pakistan in the same way as he carried the shoes. That’s why Mickey Arthur always dominated him. I am not saying carrying the shoes is a problem, but former captain can’t do that,” Akhtar said.
Latif also had a similar opinion on the incident but hailed Sarfaraz’s spirit. Latif also questioned the team spirit, pointing out that veteran pacers Mohammad Amir and Wahab Riaz did not even care to wear the Pakistani cricket kit and were seen seated in the stands wearing track suits.
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“Senior players like Amir and Wahab who are also sitting out, are not even in their kits. They are wearing track suits. This is not team spirit, but this greatness of Sarfaraz because he is passionate about the game. This should not have happened,” Rashid Latif pointed.
Meanwhile, team head coach and chief selector Misbah-ul-Haq appreciated the initiative shown by Sarfraz and clarified that the others were not available at the moment as they were practicing in the nets.
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“This type of discussion can only happen in Pakistan. I also performed the duties of a 12th man, when I was captain and was sitting out in a match against Australia. There is no shame in doing that.”
“Sarfaraz is an excellent human being and player. He knows that it is a team game. When other players are practising outside, so the player who is available has to help out. It is not a matter of disrespect. In fact, it is big of Sarfaraz that he doesn’t mind doing it. Plus, it is a sign of a good team,” Misbah said.
After piling 326 runs on the board, the visitors started off strong with the ball. The young pair of Mohammad Abbas and Shaheen Afridi pushed England on the backfoot, reducing them to 12/3. However, a crafty half century by Olli Pope has helped England recover from the early damage but a lot still needs to be done.
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