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Sarfaraz Ahmed likely to retain place in ODI playing XI

Wicketkeeper-batsman made a comeback after 15 months during the third South Africa ODI

Sarfaraz Ahmed likely to retain place in ODI playing XI PHOTO: AFP

Pakistan captain Babar Azam believes that wicketkeeper-batsman Sarfaraz Ahmed can play a vital role as the team tries to get rid of its woes in the middle-order. He also hinted that the former skipper will be a regular feature of the Pakistan line-up in the future.  

Sarfaraz was included in the playing XI, during the third ODI, for the first time in 15 months after Danish Aziz and Asif Ali failed to make an impression during the first two matches. He scored run-a-ball 13 during his brief stay at the crease on Wednesday.

“I accept our middle-order struggled, but I don’t think it was as bad as people made out. There’s a gap in our middle-order where we are missing a particular kind of player we are trying to fill, which is why we brought Sarfaraz in to try and plug that weakness. We wanted to utilise the experience that was on the bench, so that’s why we brought Sarfaraz in,” said Azam after the match.

“Sarfaraz is with us because we trust him,” he said. “In ODI cricket, we’ll try and utilise him as much as we can as wicketkeeper and batsman, because at number five you need to move the game along, which we believe he can do. The middle-order was struggling, and while it didn’t come off for Sarfaraz today, everyone played a part in a very good series deciding win.”

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During yesterday’s final ODI, Zaman followed up his scintillating 193 on Sunday with 101 as Pakistan posted 320 for seven in their 50 overs having been sent into bat.

South Africa, missing five key players on their way to the Indian Premier League in Quinton de Kock, David Miller, Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje and Lungi Ngidi, were bowled out for 292 in the final over.

The teams now play a four-match Twenty20 International series starting in Johannesburg on Saturday.