The Pakistan Cricket Board have confirmed that Sarfaraz Ahmed will remain as captain of the national side until the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019.
The news comes in the aftermath of a controversial exchange between the wicketkeeper and South Africa all-rounder Andile Phehlukwayo. Yesterday, Sarfaraz insisted the episode had been transformed into “a bigger deal than it was”.
During the second ODI in Durban, Sarfaraz said, in Urdu: “Abey kaale, teri ammi aaj kahaan baitheen hain? Kya padhwa ke aaye hai aaj?” Basically translated, that means: “Hey, black guy, where’s your mother sitting today? What [prayer] have you got her to say for you today?”
The ICC subsequently launched an investigation and banned the captain from playing in the remaining two ODIs against South Africa and the subsequent T20I series. The PCB, who described the suspension as “utter nonsense” after they had conceded his choice of words were “unacceptable“, then confirmed that they would be appointing captains on a “series-by-series basis”.
However, the PCB have now come in out in full support of their leader and have acted fast to quash speculation that Sarfaraz could be dropped. “I am happy to confirm that Sarfaraz will remain Pakistan captain till the World Cup,” said PCB chairman Ehsan Mani. “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.
“Sarfaraz has reiterated his commitment to the Pakistan cricket team as well as his availability and enthusiasm to captain the team at the World Cup.
“I am confident he will continue the good work with Mickey Arthur and Inzamam-ul-Haq so that the team is in the best possible shape and form to produce strong performances at the World Cup.”
Sarfaraz, who has played in 101 ODIs, including 35 as captain, 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.
“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.
“I am convinced we are in a good shape for the World Cup. We have top quality talent and match-winners with a 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.”