Arthur delighted to see Sarfraz back in form

Pakistan head coach heaps praise on captain after match-winning knock against Scotland

Arthur delighted to see Sarfraz back in form PHOTO: AFP

Pakistan Head Coach Mickey Arthur heaped praise on captain Sarfraz Ahmed for his stunning knock against Scotland in the first T20I of the two-match series  on Tuesday.

The wicketkeeper-batsman scored unbeaten 89 off 49 balls in 48-run win in the series opener.

“I am happy. We batted well, we got some partnerships going, so important for one of your top four to go on, and Saffie (Ahmed) got some runs today,” said Mickey Arthur, the Pakistan head coach according to official ICC website. “Very relieved, he’s played beautifully today. He hasn’t been playing badly, to be honest. For him to get some runs was fantastic.”

He added: “I think he plays well at four or five, I really do. Perhaps four is one too high in ODI cricket, he has to keep wickets and everything like that. Certainly four or five is the way to go, and in T20I cricket he’s done exceptionally well at four for us.”

The head coach was also pleased with the outcome of the tour so far and especially the progression shown by young players.

“I am very pleased. This tour has been so good for the younger players. They have evolved, first in Test cricket and now ... (Hussain) Talat comes in, Asif (Ali) comes in, our white-ball squad comes in, and everybody just gels well. Everybody knows their roles and it’s going very well for us at the moment,” said Arthur.

The South African also praised Shoaib Malik’s quick fire half-century which helped Pakistan post a strong total.

“All the other guys chipped in and you’ve got to say Shoaib Malik’s innings was outstanding,” he said.

The Pakistan skipper, himself, was relieved to be back amongst the runs after a lean run of form with the bat in the past few matches.

“Good thing is that the team is winning. I am backing myself and the coaches have been helping me. T20 is a different format and you take it ball after ball if you are not in form,” said Sarfraz.

The 31-year-old added that it was nice to win against Scotland because of the pressure of being the number one ranked T20I side.

“We came here yesterday, could not practice because of rain, but the boys did well. If you are the No.1 team, the pressure is on you when you are playing teams like Scotland and Ireland,” he added.

The second and final T20I match of the series will be played on June 14 at Edinburgh.