Sarfraz emerging as strong contender for T20 skipper

ISLAMABAD: With five teams battling to clinch Pakistan Super League (PSL) title, the exciting tournament is not only giving an opportunity to selectors to look for some real talent for Twenty20 world cup but also to gauge the leadership skills of players like Sarfraz Ahmed, Shoaib Malik and Azhar Ali, who will be in line for the captaincy slot in T20s once Shahid Afridi retires after the mega event.

Keeping in view the so far performances of the teams and their respective captains, Sarfraz no doubt is far ahead from all the others, impressing not only national but foreign legendary players with three out of four wins together with his captaincy skills and management.

Sarfraz and Malik both have so far batted with an average of around 27 while Azhar with around 23. But, the major difference among the three is the way Sarfraz has handled the affairs on the ground. Though Malik is also a T20 specialist but being deputy in T20 internationals, the latter’s chances of becoming next T20 skipper are getting bright if the decision is made on merit (which is quite rare in national cricket).

Then, the other major element being witnessed in the league is the way national players are fighting and striving to perform well, which lacks when they play at international level.

The critics are of the view that where players are keen to show best of their skills in the tournament to earn a place in the national team, the relaxing dressing room atmosphere is also contributing in enhancing their performance.

It was reported a number of times in the media that the dressing room of national side usually remains tense due to alleged tussle between head coach Waqar Younus and some of the players. The current season of PSL is making it evident how a healthy and friendly dressing room adds to the performance of the team, a fact that must be understood by the team management.

Meanwhile, eying the performance of some young national cricketers in PSL, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has delayed naming squad for world T20 which is a good move and will give more confidence to the players who are illustrating their talent in the game.

Former Zimbabwian player Andy Flower is already impressed with the talent of Pakistani players and said in an interview that “I think there are five excellent sides and we have seen skillful performance and there is a lot of talent.”

The PSL have 69 local and 29 foreign players, with high profile names in West Indian Chris Gayle and Darren Sammy, former England batsman Kevin Pieteresen and Australia’s Shane Watson.

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), through PSL, aims to boost the national team-currently eighth in one-day and seventh in Twenty20 rankings besides grooming some young players.