What was the real reason for snubbing Sarfaraz Ahmed, Waqar Younis?

Published: March 9, 2015
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According to Waqar, since we did not have a third opener, we took in Nasir Jamshed.

In every field, humans invest in certain objects to get a desired output from them. In cricket too, teams invest in talented players before important tournaments, give them a maximum number of matches to play and work on their weak points so that they can help the team bag victories.

A year before the cricket World cup 2015, almost all teams, including Pakistan, invested in certain players. Australia gave a chance to Glenn Maxwell, developed his skills and turned him into a brilliant match finisher.

Photo: AFP

Shikhar Dhawan played for India in Australia, which got him used to the pitch conditions. Even though he was not able to perform, the Indian management decided to stick with him because they knew a domestic opener from India would take another few matches to adapt to the conditions, which would inevitably hurt their progress. Therefore, they gave Dhawan a chance and he has proven to be a good choice since he is amongst the top scorers of the tournament.

Now, let’s take a look at the attitude of the Pakistani team management.

We played three big series before the World Cup, including two in UAE, plus the one in New Zealand. The most consistent player, other than our captain Misbahul Haq, was Sarfaraz Ahmed, whose form and positive aggression instilled belief in Pakistani fans; a belief that we have a firing batsman and a keeper who can take wickets on fast Australian pitches.

Photo: AFP

In New Zealand, our batting line-up, which included Sarfaraz, failed. But that does not mean that he cannot play on pitches on that side of the world. That’s the time when our management team, consisting of Moin Khan and Waqar Younis, started playing the giddy goat, which continued when Waqar walked out of the press conference in an unprofessional manner.

Photo: AFP

Do you recall the time when Moin suggested Sarfaraz as the third opener in the absence of Mohammad Hafeez and Ahmed Shahzad? Speaking to the press after Pakistan’s match against UAE, our head coach said that this was more than enough to astonish fans and experts all over the world.

Our coach’s statement made it seem as if he was throwing down the gauntlet as compared to Moin’s statement, who proposed Sarfaraz as the third opener. According to Waqar, since we did not have a third opener, we took in Nasir Jamshed. The statement reflected upon the confused mindset of our team management.

How can Waqar, Moin and Misbah justify dropping their most promising player?

Pakistan played three important matches with an opener who cannot be called a good cricketer in his present condition, simply due to his batting and fielding mishaps.

This decision put pressure on the Pakistani team from the start.

Photo: AFP

Secondly, our wicket keeper, Umar Akmal, dropped easy catches that not only increased the work load of our bowlers but also drained their energy.

Photo: AFP

They did not try to accommodate Sarfaraz in the team. That’s okay. They tried Umer. That is alright as well. But allowing him to play against South Africa must have made them recognise his bravery and positive aggression against lethal fast bowlers. So why are they not admitting their mistake?

Waqar’s attitude and behaviour has raised red flags in the dressing room. He has always remained a narcissistic hero and will continue to be so.

We as a nation rarely recognise and admit mistakes, and Waqar proved to be a part of this setup. The way Waqar scorned at the reporter who asked him about Sarfaraz, failed to depict that he is a respective player in a gentleman’s game.

However, Pakistan looked completely confident in their batting against South Africa, as well as their bowling. The bowlers bowled with more confidence, belief and energy knowing that there is a lesser chance of dropped catches behind the wicket.

Rahat Ali celebrates after removing the dangerous David Miller. Photo: AFP

Our management should stick with the regular keeper and leave all other matters till the end of the World Cup, when new plans will be needed, especially since Misbah and Shahid Afridi will be retiring from the gentlemen’s game.

Aqib Shahzad Bhatti

Aqib Shahzad Bhatti

Pursuing Masters in Chemical Engineering from NUST. He is an inveterate sports devotee and loves writing. He tweets @aqibbhatti (twitter.com/AQIBBHATTI)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Javed Iqbal

    Every Tom, Dick and Bhatti is now pointing fingers toward Waqar; Sarfraz is class act and it was a mistake but look who is talking in print and digital media against Waqar. This writer might have played a couple of tennis ball matches but not teaching cricket to Misbah, Waqar and Moin. You are writing about Waqar Younis who is one of the greatest fast bowler this country produced. He might have flaws but come on; coaching Pakistani team is not a a joke. Let them play cricket and you must focus on completing your Master instead of bashingRecommend

  • yousuf

    we all know why sarfraz and fawad alam are snubbed from the squad and talentless overhyped sloggers like umar akmal and sohaib maqsood are given 100+ ODIs hailing them as 28 years old teenage sensations,..Recommend

  • Maximus Decimus Meridius

    Sarfraz dhoka nahee day ga. They should have known.Recommend

  • Lord

    Bro we all have our opinion in cricket its in our blood.Recommend

  • Waqas

    Don’t involve politics into it, this is Pakistan cricket team not any province team. Fawad Alam was not selected because of Younus Khan as far as Sarfraz is concern selectors wants to give chances to Nasir Jamshed.Recommend

  • Ahmed

    I am a Urdu speaking from Karachi and I think it has more to do with individuals than race. Please don’t make it a Mahajir punjabi fight even if you feel it this way, don’t proclaim it for the sake of unity, please.
    Waqar Younis don’t want Sarfaraz in the team, this is clear. Reason might be one or more of the following:
    ~He is captaincy material and Waqar wants somebody else as next captain.
    ~His mentor is Rashid Lateef who spoke against Waqar and co and alleged them of match fixing(Justice Qayyum Report).
    ~He is a straight forward and honest guy and Waqar wants more people in the team with whom he feels easy.
    ~Waqar Younis might still be doing spot/match fixes and Sarfaraz is not co-operating in that.Recommend

  • 8if

    Well saidRecommend

  • Ahmed

    For those who are defending Waqar Younis. After heroic UAE performance of Sarfaraz, the decision of dropping him cannot be explained as anything but corruption. You can see neutrals like Glenn Mcgrath saying the same because they witnessed Sarfraz’s game in UAE and he looked like a future legend.
    Waqar plotted against Sarfaraz and wanted to destory his career, we simply cannot ignore it.
    We knew it very well that he would include Sarfaraz against South Africa and ask him to open and face. He wanted Sarfaraz to get out in 1st over. Sarfaraz was lucky he clicked in the same game otherwise he would be sidelined permanently.
    Waqar’s explanation is lame when he says he wanted specialist opener thats why dropped Sarfaraz. Man you wanted “Specialist” opener but not specialist wicket keeper, amazing. Its wrong to compare Sarfaraz with Nasir Jamshed. Sarfaraz is wicket keeper and Nasir is opener. Sarfaraz is must in the team even if Nasir jamshed opens with Shehzad.Recommend

  • Sane

    The writer has narrated the fact. Waqar was a fast bowler and he received all praises at that time and made fortune out of this. His history should not be used to destroy present and future of Pakistan cricket.Recommend

  • Aqib Bhatti

    Javed, better mind your language. If you are not able to express your feelings on an international forum, then don’t be jealous with those who are capable of doing this. And the world is progressing day by day, while TC (polish) oriented people like you consider tc as the only source of succes. Javed, waqar is not going to give you a second read even if you keep on defending his idiotic decisions.
    Recommend

  • ali

    I think grouping. After worldcup, the most important choice the chairman have to made that is selection of captain. So misbah and company not want sarfaraz in the list to be next captain.Recommend

  • Hasan Khan

    hahahah good one javed bhai ! every tom dick and bhatti hahahahah !Recommend

  • Ajmal Sait

    Bringing back Sarfraz worked as well Younis Khan as well is only pace attack :)

    Pakistan team’s performance is commendable with all the limitations, challenges and issues thrown at them. Waqar is best in converting a formidable bowling unit, and equally supported by Misbah, which was evident in the last match. Team Management has expected Nasir to bring much needed partnership in Australian/NZ pitches but his batting failure fired back the approach – that is part and parcel of exploring when their regular opener could not take part in the final moment. Bringing back Sarfraz worked and as well Younis (…lot of criticism…almost from every cricket pundit wanted to throw him out). Also there is a lot of pressure to bring the Yasir where SA could have struggled but if you see they lost against pace attack…which must have been SA strength. No cricketing logic can be applied for any winning. Now with this success, Team should trust in both Waqar and Misbah, who are exceptional with their limited resources, criticism from every other Pakistan cricketers, and pressure surrounded in them. You can only wish them than criticize them.Recommend

  • Khalid

    Can we please get over this? What’s done is done. Sarfraz is in the team and Pakistan is playing at its full potential currently. Also, people may point fingers at Waqar but they should also know that he is the one who has groomed the likes of Rahat Ali and Sohail Khan to be a genuine threat in this tournamentRecommend

  • Ahmed

    the reality is that is is the issue of politics and race. I would love to not believe it but that is the fact. punjabis and pathans have ruined PakistanRecommend

  • Ahmed

    you must be a punjabi or a pathan that is why you are biasedRecommend

  • MZM

    The same can be said about Nasir Jamshed. If India persisted with Dhawan and Australia with Maxwell, why did we not with Nasir Jamshed? When was the last time he was given complete series? EIther he should not have played a single game in World Cup or he should not have missed one. Sarfraz was dropped for a reason. He scored poorly in entire NZ series in UAE and then in NZ. He dropped so many catches in test matches too. He will fail and we will bring back Nasir Jamshed for 2 games.Recommend

  • Fir

    Punjabis and Pathans constitute more than 75% population of Pakistan. If you have problem with them go back to where you ancestors came from. We don’t need any baggage.Recommend

  • Fasy

    Is Pakistani players are professionals? We are paying them a money of professionals and lot more to the coach. If any doctor or engineer makes a mistake they held accountable then why not they are. Waqar Younun a professional coach of a professional team “must be joke”.It dose not mean if he was a greatest fast bowler of his time but he is not as good as a coach and more then any thing his ego which is destroying the team and the future of some players.Recommend

  • Javed Hamid

    Pak Vs Ireland: Sarfaraz performance (till now), another slap on Waqar Younus and Misbah face for ignoring Sarfaraz for unknown reasons. I am just wondering that how many players like Sarfaraz are not even included in our team because of biased and unknown reasons. Waqar and Misbah should reply this and should be punished for commiting this sporting crime that nation has to pay.Recommend

  • Sayada

    When Allah wills for someone to succeed no one can stop him or her. Waqar is being biased and the whole nation sees that. Allah will punish and reward an action even if the size of a grain. Waqar should be fair if he believes in Allah. If he believes in Allah he will have to prove he believes and respects what Allah has ordered, which is justice and fairness.Recommend