Sarfraz upbeat ahead of first South Africa ODI

Pakistan captain is optimistic about making a good start to the five-match series

Sarfraz upbeat ahead of first South Africa ODI PHOTO: AFP

Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed is upbeat ahead of the first ODI against South Africa.

While speaking in the pre-match press conference in Port Elizabeth — which is the venue for the first ODI of the five-match series — Sarfraz said that his side is hoping to make a good start to the series.

“First match is always important,” said Sarfraz. “Hopefully we will make a good start to the series despite the fact that defeating South Africa on their home soil is a challenging task.”

Bearing in mind the 2019 World Cup in England and Wales, Sarfraz said that the Men in Green would be looking to experiment with couple of different combinations in order to carve out a suitable method of play for the mega event.

“We are looking to try couple of different combinations in this series and the next one against Australia,” he said. “We want to gauge what combination suits us ahead of the World Cup.”

The Pakistan skipper was also keen to see young left-handed opener Fakhar Zaman stick to his natural game and take the attack to the opposition with his aggressive intent at the top of the order.

“We want Fakhar Zaman to play his natural game like David Warner and,in the past, Virender Sehwag and Shahid Afridi,” he said. “We understand that if he stays at the wicket, he can become a scary player for the opponents. I also think he is getting better day by day which is a good sign.”

Sarfraz also talked about the challenge of playing under lights — considering the fact that the majority of the matches will be day and night.

“Four out of the five ODIs are under lights, which is why we prefer to bat first and put runs on the board,” he said. “Chasing under lights is not an easy task.”

The first ODI between Pakistan and South Africa will take place on January 19.