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Sarfaraz rues 'unhelpful' pitches for inferior net run-rate
Pakistan News

Sarfaraz rues 'unhelpful' pitches for inferior net run-rate

Sarfaraz Ahmed insisted his team were focused on improving their net run-rate in the latter half of the tournament but slow pitches prevented Pakistan from accelerating during their final matches.

Speaking to the press for the first time after landing in Karachi, the Pakistan skipper revealed his side had discussed plans on raising the metric which eventually forced their elimination from the World Cup despite having the equivalent number of points as semi-finalists New Zealand.

"It was present in our mind that we have to make the most of an opportunity that comes to us to improve the run rate," he said.

"But, the pitches weren’t supporting as they had gotten slow because of which some of the matches went into the last over.

"We wanted to improve our run rate against Afghanistan. But the behaviour of the pitches had changed drastically."

Pakistan began their World Cup campaign with a shambolic seven-wicket loss to the West Indies at Trent Bridge after being bundled out for their second-lowest total in cricket's showpiece event.

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The enormous margin of defeat took a massive hit at Pakistan's net run-rate, from which they were never able to recover despite winning their last four games on the trot.

"We couldn’t do well against the West Indies in our tournament opener but gained momentum by beating England, the home team and the favourites.

"Because of the delay in our next match, due to a washout against Sri Lanka, we had lost that momentum and it reflected in our performances against Australia and India," he added, reflecting on Pakistan's tournament.

'Days after India defeat were very difficult to cope for the team'

Pakistan's lowest point in the World Cup came during their 89-run defeat to arch-rivals India at Old Trafford.

The lackluster performance from Sarfaraz's men triggered a strong backlash from fans back home and those residing in the United Kingdom.

Players were heckled in public including a notorious incident of a fan verbally abusing Sarfaraz whilst he was with his family at a shopping mall in England.

"It was really difficult for us to cope with the things that happened in the next seven days.

"After the defeat against India, we spent a very tough time both out of the field and in it as well.

It wasn’t only me who was subjected to slurring, but many other players were also targeted in the malls, etc. Some things that happened did not come to the fore and we have reported them to the management," Sarfaraz said.

He praised the character of the players and the backing they received from the coaching staff which ultimately lifted their spirits and translated into better showings on the field.

"Some of the former players, who were commentating, present there provided us with their backing.

"I called up a meeting and discussed that we are making mistakes somewhere because of which we are not getting results.

"The team responded really well and everyone gave their opinion and it reflected from our four straight wins from there on," the 32-year-old claimed.

'Captaincy future up to the board'

There has been speculation regarding Sarfaraz's future as captain of the Pakistan side in all formats of the game, with some requesting the authorities to cut down his responsibilities to just T20 Internationals.

When asked about his continued role as leader of the team, Sarfaraz said: "The decision has to be taken by the cricket board. They know who’s better for the role."

There were several questions raised on the side's combination and the team management's inability to settle on the perfect playing XI until halfway through the tournament.

Sarfaraz addressed these concerns by defending the intentions of those involved in deciding the best possible line-up since they had preferred to prioritize the in-form players.

"The team that we played in the first match was also our best XI. We try to come up with the best possible lineup.

"It was unfortunate that those players couldn’t perform. And it was fortunate that those who got chances later played well."

Sarfaraz was also asked about the uncanny resemblances with Pakistan's triumphant 1992 World Cup campaign and he responded with a witty remark by pointing out Afghanistan and Bangladesh's presence in this year's edition.

"Afghanistan and Bangladesh were not there in 1992," he said.