Zaheer Abbas urges Sarfaraz Ahmed to lead from front

Under-fire captain gets surprise call from the man nicknamed Asian Bradman.

June 18, 2019

MANCHESTER: Under fire from all quarters, Pakistan’s embattled captain Sarfaraz Ahmed got a pleasant surprise on Tuesday.

In the aftermath of Pakistan’s catastrophic World Cup defeat against arch-rivals India at Old Trafford on Sunday, Sarfaraz and his teammates have been at the centre of intense criticism. There are even calls for his head to roll as Pakistan face an early exit from the World Cup after managing just three points from five matches.

Such severe has been the criticism that Pakistan’s players especially Sarfaraz are even scared of picking up their phones.

But on Tuesday afternoon, Sarfaraz got a call he knew he had to answer.

It was a call from Pakistan cricket legend Zaheer Abbas.

The former Pakistan captain, who is also a former President of the International Cricket Council (ICC), told Sarfaraz to face the criticism bravely and answer his critics by a series of forceful performances in the remaining four matches of the World Cup.

“You should be courageous,” Zaheer told Sarfaraz. “I know a lot of fans and critics are launching serious attacks at you and the team but you should face all of it bravely. The best way to deal with it is to stay completely focused and give your best in the remaining matches of the World Cup. You can’t give up.”

Zaheer, who was Pakistan’s team manager back in 2006, also told Sarfaraz to lead from the front and take bold decisions in the coming World Cup games.

“You are the captain of the Pakistan team. You should take advice from others around you but the final decision on important issues should be yours. You have to lead by example.”

Zaheer stressed that Sarfaraz should boost the morale of his team-mates.

“You should sit down with the player and pump them up. They need their captain’s support. We all know that Pakistan is facing a tough situation but we also know that the World Cup is not over for us. We have to win the remaining matches and for that you will need the best from your players.”

Sarfaraz was pleased to receive the pep talk from Zaheer, one of the greatest cricketers of all-time.

He assured Zaheer that as Pakistan’s captain he would make the best possible effort to lift the team’s morale. He also promised that the team will work hard in the coming days and revive its World Cup fortunes.

Pakistan have moved camp from northern England and are now based in their hotel near Swiss Cottage. They have a two-day rest and will resume training at Lord’s from Thursday. 

Their next game is against South Africa on June 23 followed by three more group games against New Zealand in Birmingham, Afghanistan in Leeds and Bangladesh at Lord’s. 

They have to win all four matches to stay in the hunt for a place in the World Cup final four.