Before the start of the 2019 World Cup, there was a lot of discussion surrounding whether Sarfaraz Ahmed deserved to be the skipper of the Pakistan team. Barring the ODI whitewash in Zimbabwe, he didn’t have the greatest of times with the national side in the last one and half years. Even as a number of people wanted Sarfaraz to be sacked, many former cricketers also backed the 32-year-old and want him to continue. However, he was eventually persisted with for the mega event in England and Wales.
World Cup was just a few months away
To everyone’s agony, Pakistan bowed out of the tournament before the semis as they finished fifth in the points table. After the Men in Green’s World Cup exit, Ehsan Mani, the Chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has revealed the reasons behind why they were not keen on removing Sarfaraz as the captain.
“I did not make any changes in the team management and also retained Sarfraz Ahmed as captain because the World Cup was just a few months away when I took charge as PCB chairman,” Mani was quoted as saying in an interview with Dawn. Back in September 2018, Mani, who’s also a former president of the ICC, was appointed as the chief after Najam Sethi resigned in August.
The Men in Green’s campaign in the tournament was a tale of two halves. Sarfaraz’s men started with a shambolic seven-wicket defeat against the Windies in Nottingham. Though they managed to roll over hosts England by 14 runs, they slumped to a couple of more defeats versus Australia and India. The losses left their campaign in shambles as the team languished at the bottom half of the table.
Thereafter, Pakistan soared above the expectations and kept climbing up the ladder. Sarfaraz & Co beat South Africa, New Zealand, Afghanistan and Bangladesh, countering all the hurdles. They ended with 11 points from nine matches. Unfortunately, a few other results didn’t go their way. Moreover, the Kiwis pipped them on Net Run Rate and made their way through to the semis. From a personal viewpoint, Sarfaraz had an indifferent tournament with the bat in hand. The keeper-batsman could only manage 143 runs at an average of 28.60 with a top score of 55 against the Brits in Nottingham.