Mohsin urges PCB to retain Azhar Ali as Test captain

Former Pakistan chief selector and head coach Mohsin Hassan Khan has said that PCB should retain Azhar Ali as Test captain and Sarfraz should be groomed under him.

Talking to The Nation, Mohsin said: “Now Pakistan has achieved what they were looking for. Winning Champions Trophy means a lot for Pakistan cricket, who were deprived of playing home matches due to security issues. Now lies another stern test of green caps abilities, now they have to face the biggest challenge of playing Test matches without backbone of batting Younus khan and skipper Misbah-ul-Haq, but I feel Sarfraz should be focused on T20 and ODI captaincy for the time being and Azhar Ali should be given Test team captaincy, as it will help Sarfraz groom and gain more experience before finally handed over Test captaincy. For me, Test captaincy will put extra pressure on Sarfraz and may hurt his performances,” Mohsin concluded.

Talking to The Nation, Mohsin said: “After being hammered by India in the opening match of the Champions Trophy, I must give credit to the team spirit, team management, captain and winning mentality, which prevailed at the right time and turned the fortunes of the entire team. I must say, green caps played well beyond their strength against India in the group match. They were nowhere and there was no planning, no team work and they don’t have any game plan, but after that, the team played bravely and outclassed all the opponents.

“The way, Pakistan team hammered No 1-ranked ODI team South Africa, was highly laudable, which boosted their morale and enabled them to beat all the opponents. Sarfraz Ahmed did a fabulous job by bucking up his players and I think coach missed the most important trick by opting to exclude Junaid and Fakhar Zaman for league stage match against India. Ever since Fakhar and Juniad got their chances, they completely turned around the whole complexion off the tournament with their match-winning performances,” he added.

Mohsin said it was highly satisfactory to watch green caps playing fluent and flawless cricket. “They were outstanding and fearless after the first match, which made them top team of the tournament. The first match against India proved to be an eye-opener for Pakistan team and then they bounced back in style and dominated the entire tournament. I think the best part of the championship was arrival of Hassan Ali and Fakhar Zaman on cricketing horizon, who made it clear that they are here to stay for longer period of time.

“Fakhar played superbly in the entire tournament and it was his cool and calm performances, which gave confidence to Azahr Ali, as both formed a formidable opening partnership, which green caps were missing since long. All the batsmen performed very well and provided the team solid stand, which were need of the hour. Junaid Khan and Hassan Ali rattled all the opponents with their awesome bowling. Fakhar also showed a lot of strong character, the way he handled the pressure clearly shows that he can absolve pressure and play his natural and fearless game make him a great player one day,” he added.

The former coach said that Pakistan demolished India in every department of the game in the final. Sarfraz and his team did wonders and it was wonderful sight to watch Pakistan playing such flawless and fearless cricket. Pakistan played superbly against South Africa and also succeeded in beating Sri Lanka, but luck always favours the brave, as against England, green caps were simply untouchable and in the finals, Kohli offered Pakistan to bat first, knowing batting is our weakness, but Sarfraz and his players turned the tables. “For me, Hasan Ali was sensational and he thoroughly deserves player of the final and player of the tournament. For me, Junaid was always harshly treated and never got the respect which he deserves form the PCB and selectors. But he always comes out all guns blazing, whenever he was given an opportunity to represent the national team,” Mohsin concluded.

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