Is Sarfraz Actually Capable of Leading Pakistan Forward?

With his performance already on a low — with the bat specifically – Sarfraz is quickly falling out of favor with the fans, players and experts. He might still have a number of fans defending him as under him Pakistan went on to lift the ICC Champions Trophy but it has been a good six months since then.

Australia traveled to UAE with an inexperienced Test side and knowing they have lost 12 of their last 15 Test matches in Asia. This, without a doubt, was reason enough for Pakistan to be fired up but that wasn’t to be as the match came down to the last over when it shouldn’t have.

Seeing Australians celebrate in the dugout after ensuring only a draw was perhaps a clear indication that Pakistan should definitely have won the game. This, however, should not undermine Usman Khawaja’s efforts who played one of the best 4th-innings batting efforts in Australia’s Test history. Following his departure, Tim Paine also made a remarkable effort to sustain all the pressure which followed next to close the game.

Pakistan’s Accidental Success Under Sarfraz

It may seem rather strange to term all the success under Sarfraz as accidental but, that is probably the only way to explain things.

Unexpected breakthroughs from the likes of Hasan Ali, Fakhar Zaman, Mohammad Abbas etc, all played a huge role in solidifying Sarfraz’s stance as a captain. However, with time, it has become apparent that he is unfit to lead from the front. Missed stumpings, shocking reviews, bad field placements and no clear game plan from Sarfraz all contributed towards Australia snatching the win away from the Greens.

If you are going to argue on basis of stats and numbers then, of course, Sarfraz is a better than Imran Khan. But in reality, is that so? Far from it. You have to take significant wins into account; outperforming the likes of Zimbabwe and Scotland and registering a series win against them is not as significant as leading your team to a World Cup and actually winning it.

Misbah-ul-Haq — considered to be a great Pakistani captain in Test cricket — only managed a 46% win-rate in the longest format of the game. However, what this stat doesn’t show is how Pakistan managed to reach the no. 1 position in ICC Test match rankings for the first time. However, some might argue that victory was on the back of a long home season in the UAE and a comparatively easier away season before that.

So it is clear to see why relying only on statistics to form an opinion is not the most ideal approach.

Here’s Why Sarfraz Shouldn’t Lead Pakistan to 2019 World Cup

ICC World Cups are perhaps the most prestigious events in the world of cricket and if you glance over all the winning teams in recent years, you will notice that having a strong leader is absolutely crucial.

To give you a slight comparison, here is a list of all the World Cup winning captains:

Year Winner Captain
1975 and 1979 West Indies Clive Lloyd
1989 India Kapil Dev
1987 Australia Allan Border
1992 Pakistan Imran Khan
1996 Sri Lanka Arjuna Ranatunga
1999 Australia Steve Waugh
2003 & 2007 Australia Ricky Ponting
2011 India MS Dhoni
2015 Australia Micheal Clarke

Remaining neutral, it is evident that Sarfraz cannot possibly be compared to the names mentioned above because the difference in quality is immense. So why exactly is Pakistan not looking at other options?

Here’s a comparison of Sarfraz’s performances before and after he became the captain of the national team in limited overs cricket:

Innings Runs H/S Average 50/100
As a Player 52 1498 105 34.83 6/2
As a Captain 18 318 61* 26.50 2/1

This may not raise alarm bells for others but when you look at his performances in Test matches, you may be a little more cautious. In 2018, Sarfraz averages 12.33 with the highest of 20 runs in Test matches. Prior to that, since September of 2017 till becoming Test captain, Sarfraz averaged 19.30 with just 1 half century to his name. His performances continue to drop which is why Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) should start considering other options.

Poor performances with bat and behind the stumps coupled with a genuine lack of ability and authority, these are enough reasons why Sarfraz should not be the one leading the Pakistani side in the upcoming World Cup.

Who, If Not Sarfraz?

This is probably a million dollar question which PCB need to get right. So who is the ideal candidate? Well, the ideal candidate would, of course, be someone who is young and has fulfilled the duties of being a captain at the domestic level for a significant time period. However, there is no one who is capable of doing that.

Babar Azam, is the best shout but since he is the main batsman in the Pakistani line-up, it is better if PCB does not put extra pressure on him in the most crucial of tournaments.

So, who else? Well, despite showing interest in retirement after the World Cup, Pakistan should consider entrusting the responsibility of leading the side to Shoaib Malik.

Malik may not the be most popular of choices but he’s certainly the most capable out of the bunch. He has tons of experience as a player and as a captain and on top of that, he thrives under pressure. His recent performances are a concrete proof that he is still able and fit to perform for Pakistan. However, his previous stint as a captain turned out to be controversial as many senior players fell out with him. If those issues can be managed, then he is probably the right choice.

Zarar is the Editor of Sports and Auto section at ProPakistani.


  • KZM

    Sarfaraz Ahmed should be sacked as captain and dropped as a player too.Pakistan lost to bangladesh in Asia Cup and drew against Australia due to his extremely poor captaincy.Not giving over to Muhammad Abbas in first hour of day 5 , wrong/defensive field placements, selection of Wahab Riaz, instead of Junaid Khan(not selecting in squad – biggest blunder) or Mir Hamza no specialist spinner except yasir shah (who is under performing), banking on part- time spinners like Bilal asif, Haris Sohail, Muhammad Hafeez, Azhar Ali’s poor form(possibly due to dropping him from ODI/not much match practice). In this test match, Pakistan was effectively one bowler down (do to useless wahab Riaz). Pakistan had only two specialist bowlers Yasir Shah and Muhammad Abbass. How could you win from two specialist bowlers on docile surface. One more reason was poor reviews taken by Pakistan team and dropping catch of Usman Khawaja in Haris Sohail’s over by Asad Shafiq and not taking review of Travis Head’s plumb LBW out. Pakistan can lose by innings in 2nd test because Australians have figured out Pakistan and Pakistan have no answers/plans to counter them. Imam ul Haq’s injury has also added to Pakistan woes. Fakhar Zaman can be good replacement if he can make his presence on pitch count. Pakistan team will be extremely low on confidence in 2nd test and will be a big challenge for Pakistan team to counter Australia in 2nd Test.

    • CaR M0nitor

      pakistan lost to bangla beccause miky arthur didnt selet spinner for the tour and his pressure caused wrong player selection, we drew to australia because there were more than a dozen times when ball missed the stumps while the inside edge, moreover Abbas wasnt given bowling in first few overs because new ball wasnt swinging on that pitch so he was rested, there were no wrong field placements, sarfaraz didnt select wahab riaz its your chief selector and the stupid coach who didnt play a single international match and u made him your coach even after failing with different teams, for your all selection reasons, sarfaraz has the least influence, wahab riaz is a good friend of mickey arthur, ,, have you ever played cricket or just watch it for the sake of argument??? its not up to your level to discuss it man, leave it to the experts..

  • Ex-Pakistan cricketer

    He is the most uninspiring captain. Pakistan has been playing cricket in UAE for a long time. They should know the conditions much better than any other team. Yet we are loosing matches left, right and center. This draw is a loss for us. He should be dropped from the team. This is completely pathetic.

  • Jasim Aquil

    Get rid of him ,he is not a batsman

  • Roberto Baggio

    Bhai chor do. is team mein kaun hae lead karne wala? Azhar ali jb captain bana tha halat bhul gaye ho? ab Pakistan har cheez/ series to nhe jeet sakta. Babar Azam is cousin of notorious akmal brothers. His own performances turns upside down against big team as you would have seen against India.
    The best possible choice are Shoaib Malik and Hafeez but they are not willing to be captain and neither they should. This team does not change a captain change at least till the world cup. Who would you bring in replacement keeper? rizwan, he is not worth international material. you dont have players available.
    Isko chalana de team ko. Pakistan t20 mein no1 hae. ab aik asia cup ki bunyad pe tum isse bahir nikalne pe keh rahe ho. Baqi team ne kia kya tha?
    Tim Paine is similar case. Australia can make Marshes captain, khwaja captain. but they didnt. they stick with him even though his place is in the team is questionable.
    Insha Allah, Agar Allah ne chaha to Pakistan world cup jeete ga. Past mein kaunsa Imran khan ne teer mar dia tha ya 2009 ki team ne t20 mein teer chala dia tha.
    Bhai Pakistan aise he jeet’ta hae on luck and Duas and it will do so on future. 1999 ki team best team the magar jo final mein hal hua sab jante haen.

  • Malik Already Said to Retirement After WC2019 & he is not successor captain as we know !
    Hafez Azhar Ali are not capable in captaincy !
    Rest Any Players are not capable for taking a Charge of Captaincy
    Captain Works only “How to Perform Team” Not How to Perform myself”
    He’s doing very well yeah he have a lack of performance but he will do the best :
    For A New Captaincy : Need Two Or More Years Like KOHLI in the team as CAPTAINCY to Perform the team as well but now you don’t have a chance and time.

    So Lets Hope for the best

  • Malik Already Said to Retirement After WC2019 & he is not successor captain as we know !
    Hafez Azhar Ali are not capable in captaincy !
    Rest Any Players are not capable for taking a Charge of Captaincy
    Captain Works only “How to Perform Team” Not How to Perform myself”
    He’s doing very well yeah he have a lack of performance but he will do the best :
    For A New Captaincy : Need Two Or More Years Like KOHLI in the team as CAPTAINCY to Perform the team as well but now you don’t have a chance and time.

    So Lets Hope for the best

  • Eli Ehsan

    FFS B -(efore) C -(christendom) ……….. #PunjagiMafia

  • CaR M0nitor

    clearly a pathetic picture presented, sarfaraz is facing a tremendous pressure, first of all he has not a say in who should play and who shouldnt, in asia cup your peanut head didnt choose any spinner and even dropped fahim ashraf, even after setting an extremely high benchmark for yoyo test did anyone asked this bharry ka coach why shadab got unfit just after a single match even when he didnt perform enough??? did anyone ask this coach why are we not playing any specialist spinner when rest of the teams are rocking 4 spinners in a match each, yet we arrive in UAE with the same coach and not once we questioned him, he didnt answer why junaid wasnt playing and fahim got dropped, UAE became the same story, can we at least ask this coach how on earth wahab makes a come back??? whats his expertise??? last i remember his terrible bowling brought pakistan the shame of worlds most expensive 10 overs by a bowler in a match, if this goes on then sure any captain would appear a failed one, and you included rizwan to put pressure on sarfaraz, otherwise why rizwan got selected even when he has 0 performances even in PSL, and after all the if this kind of media only blames sarfaraz for it then good luck people, we are doing justice with a lot players anyways..