Sarfraz says team’s morale is high, will perform well in Asia Cup


LAHORE: Pakistan cricket team captain Sarfraz Ahmed on Monday said that team’s morale was high and they would perform well in the upcoming Asia Cup. “The team have prepared a lot for the tournament and we will try our best to perform well in all three categories,” Sarfraz said while speaking to media representatives at Gaddafi Stadium here. Stating that the Asia Cup was a big event in which the top teams were participating”, the national team captain said: “Our match against India is crucial.” Sarfraz also stressed that spinners would play a key role in the Asia Cup which is taking place in the United Arab Emirates from September 15 to September 28.

“If we bat first then we will aim to make over 300 runs,” he said. “We are not relying of any one category and are looking to perform well in all three – fielding, batting and bowling,” Sarfraz continued. “Pakistan A cricket team will also be in the UAE at the same time and if we need alternate players we can call them.” The wicketkeeper-batsman also said that foreign coaches were professional. “Fitness of players has improved and there are many positive developments in the team,” he maintained. “Our battling line has the ability to set good targets.” Responding to a question regarding former captain Muhammad Hafeez, Sarfraz said, “The team needs him and we hope he will able to play the World Cup.”

‘No player’s career is over’: Sarfraz brushed aside criticism he received from veteran wicketkeeper-batsman Kamran Akmal and opening batsman Salman Butt over their non-selection in the team. Akmal has been sidelined after the emergence of Sarfraz as the Men in Green’s first-choice wicketkeeper-batsman, whereas Butt is yet to represent the Green Caps after finishing his ban in the spot-fixing scandal. Akmal and Butt are not the only players who were left disappointed after being overlooked by the team management, as veteran all-rounder Hafeez has already wrote a letter to newly-elected Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Ehsan Mani and registered his protest after being dropped for the Asia Cup.

Both Akmal and Butt accused Sarfraz along with Mickey Arthur in the media for playing role in their non-selection, but the Quetta Gladiators captain believes the decision for the team selection is taken collectively. “I don’t think it is right to point one or two individual for the non-selection of any player as the decision is taken collectively,” said Sarfraz. “We know that they’ve been performing really well in the domestic cricket as well as in the PSL, but they should not lose hope. We never decide which players’ career is over. There is a lot of cricket to be played in the next few months till the World Cup and whenever we feel like they can add value to the team, they will be called into the squad.”

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