World Cup 2019: Pakistan failed to capitalise after winning the toss, says Sarfaraz
Time has changed pretty quickly for Sarfaraz, who was hailed as an ideal replacement for Misbah-Ul-Haq after their 2017 Champions Trophy success in England
Manchester: As the Pakistani players made their way back to the hotel after a crushing World Cup defeat against India at Old Trafford on Sunday, skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed was the last player to exit. Giving him company was coach Mickey Arthur.
Time has changed pretty quickly for Sarfaraz, who was hailed as an ideal replacement for Misbah-Ul-Haq after their 2017 Champions Trophy success in England. On Sunday, there were not just questions raised about his decisions and combinations for the high-voltage match, but the Pakistan media grilled their captain for fitness and the body language of his players after suffering their seventh World Cup loss to India.
On his decision to bowl first and go against the advice of Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, the 1992 World Cup-winning captain, Sarfaraz said: "We won a good toss. I think we didn't capitalise on that. When we saw the pitch, [there was] a little bit of moisture on it. We didn't hit the right areas, while they [India] played really well. We knew Duckworth-Lewis will come into play."
He stuck to the decision of dropping a specialist batsman in Asif Ali and pacer Shaheen Afridi to accommodate spinners Shadab Khan and Imad Wasim. "We were going with five bowlers and six batters. I think our decision was right," was his curt response.
There were questions raised about performances of senior players in his team as well. "It is not just about our senior players. The whole team are not performing well in all three departments. If you see today's match, the batsmen made a good start, but unfortunately, we lost so many wickets. This was a turning point," said Sarfaraz in his candid assessment.
Sarfaraz maintained remarkable composure when the scribes asked him pointed questions about the players' negative body language during Sunday's match. When asked whether all players were physically and mentally fit for the India game, Sarfaraz said: "There are no issues with anyone. Everyone had passed the fitness test."
'No ill feelings'
He dismissed reports of a rift in the dressing room with senior players not supporting him. "There are no ill feelings. When we lose, such things are often talked about. The morale is obviously down after losing a match, but we still have enough matches left to make it to the semi-final if we win most of them," Sarfaraz said.
Sign up for all the latest news, top galleries and trending videos from Mid-day.comSubscribe
World Cup 2019: MS Dhoni and Rohit Sharma cried during semifinal. Here's why