The Pakistan Cricket Board on Tuesday confirmed that Sarfaraz Ahmed would continue to remain the captain of the men’s team till the International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cup 2019, which will be held in England and Wales from May 30 to July 14.
BREAKING : Chairman PCB Ehsan Mani, "I am happy to confirm that @SarfarazA_54 will remain Pakistan captain till the World Cup. I was always clear in my mind that Sarfaraz would be the captain."
— PCB Official (@TheRealPCB) February 5, 2019
While announcing the news, PCB chairman Ehsan Mani said, "I am happy to confirm that Sarfaraz will remain Pakistan captain till the World Cup. I was always clear in my mind that Sarfaraz would be the captain. I was keen to speak with him on the team’s recent performances as part of the normal review and appraisal process, and, more importantly, about his own future plans as we all know he has undergone some tough times as a professional cricketer in the past few weeks."
Mani further confirmed that Sarfaraz has reiterated his commitment to the Pakistan cricket team as well as his availability as the captain at the World Cup.
“Sarfaraz has been an integral part of the Pakistan cricket team’s World Cup preparations and has proved to be a good strategist, leader and performer.He led Pakistan to the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 title as well as to the top of the ICC Twenty20 International rankings. His achievements and contributions as a captain and as a valuable all-round cricketer cannot be undermined or overlooked because of the team’s recent Test results," the PCB chairman said while expressing his confidence in Sarfaraz.
Mani further said that he has full faith that Sarfaraz would continue to do good work with coach Mickey Arthur and Inzamam-ul-Haq and shape the team in the best possible way ahead of the 2019 World Cup.
Expressing his pleasure over the same, the 31-year-old said, “I feel humbled and honoured to be placed in the same bracket as some of the most iconic and legendary cricketers who have previously captained Pakistan at World Cups. It is the dream of any international cricketer to play in a World Cup, but to be appointed captain in the biggest cricket spectacle on the planet is something that is extremely special."
Recently, Sarfaraz--who is Pakistan's permanent captain in all three formats-- was forced to return home after the ICC imposed a four-match ban on him for making racially motivated comments on Andile Phehlukwayo during the second ODI in Durban which South Africa won by five wickets.
Reflecting on the same, he said, “The reality is that the last few weeks have been extremely difficult for me as a person and professional. But I am delighted that the PCB has reassured its confidence and faith in me. It has boosted my confidence tremendously."
Sarfaraz further believes Pakistan are in a good shape for the prestigious 50-over tournament.
“I am convinced we are in a good shape for the World Cup. We have top quality talent and match-winners with committed support staff in the dressing room. Everyone is geared up and keenly looking forward to returning to the country where we won the last major ICC tournament," he said.
"In the lead up to the World Cup, Pakistan will play five ODIs each against Australia and England, which will also allow us the opportunity to further fine-tune our preparations. I am sure we’ll give a good account of ourselves at the World Cup," the Pakistan skipper added.
Since making his debut against India in Jaipur in November 2007, Sarfaraz, 31, has played in 101 One-Day Internationals, including 35 as captain. He has scored 1,942 runs at just under 33 and has dismissed 121 batsmen behind the wickets. As captain, he has won 21 matches.
Sarfaraz played three matches in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015, finishing with 160 runs as an opener. He also caught six batsmen at the wicket.