Misbah-ul-Haq has revealed former Pakistan captain Sarfaraz Ahmed was hesitant to take part in the team's last T20I against England but eventually gave in after being persuaded by the management.
Sarfaraz, who was not picked for a single match throughout the England tour, was named in the Pakistan line-up ahead of first-choice wicketkeeper Mohammad Rizwan for the third T20I.
Rizwan was splendid with the bat and behind the stumps during the Tests as he was adjudged Pakistan's player of the series. His fighting half-centuries and skillful grabs drew a lot of praise from pundits.
Although Rizwan was not required to do much during the first two T20Is, his omission for Sarfaraz's inclusion for the short-format series finale was surprising.
It has now been disclosed that Sarfaraz was not ready to play since he feared his future career would hinge upon his performance in the solitary T20I.
“He didn’t refuse to play but yes, he had reservations and apprehensions over being asked to play in the last match of the tour,” Pakistan head coach-cum-chief selector Misbah told Geo News.
“If I had been in his position I would have felt the same way. A player does feel apprehensive and uncertain if he is told to play in the last match of the tour.
"Any player can have concerns when given the final match of a tour and that’s what Sarfaraz also had. He had pressure that if things don’t go his way then he could be in trouble,” he added.
Misbah recounted that he along with batting coach Younis Khan and white-ball skipper Babar Azam assured Sarfaraz he remained in their long-term plans and would not be dropped because of one flop show.
“After we had a candid discussion with him over his reservations, he played without apprehensions,” Misbah said.
While Sarfaraz was not called on for batting duties, he botched a crucial stumping chance offered by Moeen Ali, which could have proven costly for the team. Moeen, nevertheless, was dismissed in the penultimate over as Pakistan clinched a series-levelling win.
Sarfaraz was removed from the captaincy role last year following a series defeat to Sri Lanka at home. He had earlier overseen Pakistan's dramatic rise to number one in the T20I rankings with the side's record of 11 successive series wins coming under his tenure.