Thursday, 22 August 2019 11:02 GMT
img

UAE- Sarfraz Ahmed looks to turn Pakistan's fortunes against Sri Lanka




(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) When the intrepid Sarfraz Ahmed steps onto the field for the first match of the five-game Q Mobile Cup ODI series against Sri Lanka on Friday afternoon, he would try to sweep his team's disastrous Test series out of his mind.

The Karachi man just loves playing the mind games with spinners, using the sweep shot to disturb their rhythm.

It's a high risk shot on pitches with uneven bounce and one that led to his and his team's downfall in the second Test after his magnificent partnership with Asad Shafiq had made Pakistan dream of an improbable victory.

It spelled disaster for Pakistan which lost a Test series in the UAE for the first time in seven years.

Now the first match of the ODI series couldn't have come sooner for Pakistan. The settings are the same - the Dubai International Cricket Stadium -- and so are the opponents.

Now to erase the painful memory of that crushing defeat in the Test series, Sarfraz might look back to London - The Oval to be precise.

It was there that the Pakistan last played a one-day international in June and we all know how it ended with Sarfraz's men denting the pride of Virat Kohli's formidable Indian team in that lopsided ICC Champions Trophy final.

But when Pakistan go out to field on the morrow, they will be devoid of the rare left-arm fast bowling talents of Mohammad Amir whose stunning opening spell in the London final paved the way for Pakistan's most famous one-day triumph since the 1992 World Cup victory.

Amir struggled for form in the two-Test series and a shin injury in Dubai ended what turned out to be a miserable tour for him. After having gone wicketless in the first Test in Abu Dhabi, he got just one wicket in the second Test.

But Sarfraz would still have loved to give Amir the white ball against a Sri Lankan side that suffered a demoralizing 5-0 defeat against India in their last 50-overs series.

Few bowlers in the history of the game have shown the skills to move the new ball both ways like Amir. Pakistan will certainly miss him, but they still have the likes of Hassan Ali, the highest wicket-taker in Champions Trophy in England, Junaid Khan and the talented leg-spinner Shadab Khan to bank on.

Azhar Ali, who hit such cultured half-century in the Champions Trophy final, has been rested for this series. Ahmed Shezad, the perennial underachiever with the bat, will get another chance to cement his place in the side.

But all eyes will be on Fakhar Zaman, the former navy man who threw caution to the wind to score a magical, match-winning hundred at The Oval.

It will be interesting to see Sri Lanka's approach in the white-ball game after their unexpected success in the Tests against a Pakistan team that were playing their first series since the retirement of their two stalwarts - Younis Khan and Misbah

    Haq.

    Upul Tharanga, their one-day captain, didn't reveal his playing XI at the pre-match press conference on Thursday. A free-flowing player with the bat, he seemed to be extra cautious in choosing his words.

    The pressure, of course, will be on him after Test skipper Dinesh Chandimal had inspired their Test revival with a marathon hundred in Abu Dhabi.

MENAFN1210201700490000ID1095946078


UAE- Sarfraz Ahmed looks to turn Pakistan's fortunes against Sri Lanka

  Most popular stories  

Day | Week | Month