Sarfraz Ahmed

Pakistan limited-overs’ skipper Sarfraz Ahmed believes the absence of suspended opener Sharjeel Khan will be felt during the upcoming series against the West Indies.

While speaking to the media persons after training at the National Academy in Lahore, Sarfraz expressed Sharjeel’s exclusion will have an impact on the team which will play its first Twenty20 game on March 25 in Barbados.

“Sharjeel was the type of player who we needed as he was perfect for the contemporary run-and-gun style of cricket,” Sarfraz was quoted as saying by Express Tribune.

Earlier this month, Sharjeel was provisionally suspended after the spot-fixing saga surfaced in the United Arab Emirates during the recently concluded Pakistan Super League (PSL).

“It’s saddening when you lose some players who are perfect for the setup,” Sarfraz remarked.

However, he is hopeful the void will be filled by newly selected players in the squad by stating they need to backing from the senior members of the team.

“He [Sharjeel] isn’t with us anymore so of course it will affect us but I have full faith in the newcomers and they will translate their domestic form at international level,” Sarfraz added.

Since past one year, the left-handed batsman Sharjeel was seen as the promising prospect at the top for Pakistan – to set an early tone in an innings.

In his straightforward response, Sarfraz cautioned the senior campaigners in the form of left-arm fast bowlers Wahab Riaz and Mohammad Amir to deliver the results after gaining much-required experience.

“We have talked to our senior pacers [Wahab and Amir] that they now have enough matches under their belt and need to start winning matches for Pakistan. And I’m sure they will do just that,” Sarfraz revealed.

The Karachi-born batsman also threw some light on the approach of his game while adding he would focus on his fielding to improve with the game.

“I feel if my wicketkeeping is up to the mark, my batting will be too; hence, I’ve been working with fielding coach Steve Rixon to identify any weaknesses in my game,” said Sarfraz.

On his predecessor Azhar Ali, the 29-year-old wicket-keeper batsman Sarfraz also expressed his career is not over as he has been the part of the training at NCA.

Sarfraz also defended the selectors saying they have included the young players on the basis of remarkable performances in the domestic circuit.

“He [Azhar] hasn’t been discarded or forced out; if that was the case then he would not have been in the training camp either. We simply wanted to benefit from the purple patch of in-form players, which is why we picked top domestic performers,” Sarfraz concluded.

Sarfraz has played 67 One-day Internationals, 33 Tests and 25 T20Is since making his international debut in 2007 against India in Jaipur.

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    Tahir Ibn Manzoor is a staffer at Sportzwiki.com, who follows cricket like food after listening to running commentary on a transistor radio when he was only eight, and penned down the scorecard when he turned 11. He Tweets @TahirIbnManzoor

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