Karachi: Worried over constant failure of the top-order in the ongoing ICC cricket World Cup, Pakistan team management is set to draft in wicketkeeper batsman Sarfraz Ahmed in their crucial Pool B match against South Africa in Auckland on Friday.
While coach Waqar Younis didn't rule out the possibility of recalling veteran Younis Khan for tomorrow's game, skipper Misbah-ul Haq in his pre-match press conference hinted that Sarfraz could finally be picked in place of out of form opener Nasir Jamshed.
"Yes we are considering playing Sarfraz in place of Nasir," Misbah said.
Nasir, who was rushed to join the squad in New Zealand before the World Cup on the insistence of Misbah and Waqar in place of injured Muhammad Hafeez, has proved to be a complete failure in the mega event in three matches.
Waqar admitted that this has added to the pressure on the top-order and also pointed out that it had also led to baseless speculations in the Pakistani media.
"I am disappointed to hear about stories like we are not playing Sarfraz because he misbehaved with me. All this is untrue and they are no problems in the team at all," Waqar told a Pakistani channel.
"Sarfraz remains a key player for us and an asset for us for the future. There is lot of cricket after the World Cup and we don't want to dent his confidence by pushing him into a role he is not accustomed too," the coach said.
The Pakistan head coach admitted that although the team management had tried out Sarfraz as an opener in a few one-day games last year in the United Arab Emirates but insisted that conditions were very different in Australia and New Zealand.
"He is not a specialist opener and we had to see that. That is why we decided to repose faith in Nasir who is after all a proper opener. Unfortunately he has been out of form," he said.
The decision to not play Sarfraz has caused lot of controversy in Pakistan's cricket circles and media with some former players criticising the tour selection committee for constantly ignoring the wicketkeeper batsman despite his splendid form in recent times.
Waqar also said that Younis, who was dropped after the first two matches against India and West Indies because of poor form, still had a role to play in the World Cup.
"There is a role for Younis still in this World Cup as he is our senior most player and he is a very experienced batsman," he noted.
"We are worried about our top-order ahead of the South Africa match as it is very important for us to win the game it will boost our confidence a lot for the remaining matches," he said.