Exclusive: Let Sarfraz open, Akmal experiment with gloves has also failed: Asif Iqbal


Karachi: Former Pakistan captain Asif Iqbal feels that it was now time that wicket-keeper batsman Sarfraz Ahmed should be picked in the next World Cup match and open the inning for beleaguered Pakistan.

“From the very limited batting resources that Pakistan has, perhaps the only way forward is to bring Sarfraz Ahmed back and ask him to open and keep wickets,” Asif Iqbal told arysports.tv.

Pakistan made a world record of worst start in the match against West Indies on Saturday as they lost first four of their wickets with only a single runs on board. Nasir Jamshed, Younus Khan and Haris Sohail failed to score a single run while opener Ahmed Shahzad managed one before he also lost his wicket.

Asif, who captained Pakistan in the first two World Cup editions in 1975 and 1979, also feels that the experiment of having Umar Akmal as wicketkeeper has also failed.

“The experiment with Umar Akmal behind the stumps has failed,” he said.

Umar Akmal dropped a dolly behind wickets as Marlon Samuels got another life. Akmal also dropped Indian Virat Kohli’s catch who went on to record first century by an Indian batsman against Pakistan in a World Cup match.

“We must be more positive in our approach to the remaining matches, and the most obvious way of doing this would be to go in with the right balance, which is six batsmen, Afridi as the allrounder and four specialist bowlers,” he advised.

“This may not necessarily mean getting Yasir Shah back in the playing squad; it could even be four seamers if conditions are seen as being favourable for seam and swing bowling,” Asif added.

“It is still possible for us to qualify for the quarterfinals but the magnitude of the defeat against the West Indies – who, incidentally, are not one of the more fancied sides in the tournament – has made it more difficult because it has pushed Pakistan’s run rate down through the floor, he explained.

“Therefore it will not be enough for us to win against the likes of Zimbabwe, Ireland and the UAE, but to win with handsome margins. Given the way we are playing at the moment, that is a tall ask,” he stressed.