No need to press panic button: Sarfraz Ahmed

Captain vows to make changes after disappointing Asia Cup

No need to press panic button: Sarfraz Ahmed PHOTO: AFP

Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed has vowed to make changes after team’s dismal performance in the Asia Cup 2018 but believes there is no need to press the panic button.

The Men in Green suffered humiliating exit after suffering 37-run defeat against Bangladesh in the virtual semi-finals in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday.

But Sarfraz, who himself is being under pressure after having a poor tournament with the bat, believes the team is still young and need backing.

“It is completely true that we didn’t do well at any point in this tournament,” Sarfraz told reporters after Asia Cup exit. “Our batting was not good, in fielding we dropped a lot of catches and the bowling apart from today, was not up to the mark. We didn't perform well and that’s as simple as it is. I accept that my performance was not up to the mark as well. I should have performed well as a captain but I didn't and due to that, I believe the team lost."

He added: "Changes will happen but I don't think we need to press the panic button. I accept the mistakes we've done as a team. We have to back these guys. Of course, we will have to look at which players are best suited to which positions and whether there are players outside the team who can play a role. This kind of performance set off alarm bells for me as a captain and for the team overall. We will have to sit down and see what went wrong and try to fix things."

The 31-year-old further said that next series will provide a chance for the team to rectify their mistakes. “We now have to look ahead for the upcoming series against Australia and New Zealand,” he said. “We'll have to look at our mistakes here and try to rectify it there.”

Talking about the team’s performance overall, Sarfraz said that a lot of the star performers didn’t turn up in the tournament.

“Fakhar is a regular for a year now, but he didn't perform in this tournament,” he said. “ Imamul Haq performed well, but players like Babar Azam, Hasan Ali and Shadab Khan didn’t live up to the expectations. These are all young players, we have to back them as we will have to go forward with them. We'll also have to look at those on the bench and give them chances accordingly as well.”

The Karachi-born wicketkeeper-batsman also admitted that lack of experience also played its part in the team’s failure.

“Lack of experience also played its part,” he said. “Since I became captain in 2017, there were no senior players in the team besides Muhammad Hafeez and Shoaib Malik. Hafeez was in the squad for the last series but we couldn't find a spot for him in the playing XI, whereas Malik is still here with us.”

Talking about the performance of returning pacer Junaid Khan, Sarfraz said: “His talent was never questionable. He was a regular in the playing XI in 2017 but unfortunately, he got injured and because of which he missed series in New Zealand."