Pakistan captain Babar Azam has thrown his support behind former captain Sarfaraz Ahmed amid the disagreements over his inclusion in the white-ball squad for the ongoing series in South Africa.
Following a disappointing 50-over World Cup in 2019, Sarfaraz was sacked as captain of Pakistan's team and lost his place in the national team across the formats.
The 33-year-old featured in just two ODIs in September-October 2019 after the World Cup 2019 with Mohammad Rizwan being chosen over him for keeping his job and for his spot in the middle order.
However, the right-hander was recalled to the Pakistan squad for the recent three-match ODI series against South Africa that they won 2-1 on Wednesday (April 7), but he failed to make it to the playing XI in the first two games, only got the opportunity in the final ODI, thanks to Shadab Khan's injury.
The wicketkeeper-batsman managed to score 13 runs off the 13 balls in Pakistan's essay of 320 in the third ODI against South Africa, but Babar has insisted that the decision to bring back Sarfaraz was based on the middle-order's recent struggles.
The skipper further made it clear that Sarfaraz is in the Pakistan team because the team trusts him and they want him there, saying they are looking to utilize former captain as wicketkeeper and at No. 5.
Babar told reporters after the ODI series win: “We trust him, that's why he is with us. In ODIs, we will try to utilize him as much as we can as wicketkeeper and batsman at No. 5.”
In the recent ODI series in South Africa, Fakhar Zaman and Azam himself were only scoring consistently for Pakistan but the middle-order wasn't quite helping them and even they would have almost lost the first and third ODI due to their struggles.
The tourists lost the second ODI against the Proteas side despite Fakhar’s masterful 193 because there was no support for him from the middle order.
Explaining the same, the skipper noted: “We wanted to utilize the experience on the bench. Our middle order was struggling, so we thought we could bring him to put that in order. Sometimes you need to make noise and lift the team; sometimes you need that from your wicketkeeper.”
He signed off, “Our middle order was also struggling in the last two games, so it's good that everyone contributed and we won the game. Bowlers also bowled well and helped us come back into the game.”
(With Cricbuzz Inputs)