Waqar: Sarfraz is coming into his own
Pakistan coach Waqar Younis believes that wicketkeeper-batsman Sarfraz Ahmed is starting to 'play his own game' after he helped his country to a seven-wicket victory over New Zealand in the first T20 in Dubai on Thursday.
Sarfraz structured the chase to perfection as he ended the match on an unbeaten 76 runs from just 64 balls as Pakistan won with five balls to spare. This was his latest good score, after also doing well in Tests recently.
Waqar said: "I think it's been a good seven-eight months that he has started coming out of the shell and is trying to play his own game.
"He's a stroke-maker and he likes to play his shots and when he's free, when he's got less pressure on him, I feel that he plays a lot better than anybody else.
"Freedom has been given to him to play the way he plays. He has been coming good for Pakistan, he has been in a very good nick, so it's good to take advantage of that form he is in."
Waqar believes that Pakistan have finally found a wicketkeeper capable of contributing with both the bat and gloves, much like Kamran Akmal did a few years ago.
The coach said: "It's something we always had an issue with, since Kamran Akmal sort of faded away. So I think it's good, someone who can keep wicket well and bat well too."
Sarfraz was only opening the innings because regular opener Ahmed Shehzad had not yet recovered from a head injury he sustained against New Zealand in the Test series last month.
Waqar explained that Shehzad was not yet ready to make his comeback into the team.
He said: "Ahmed has been playing well, unfortunately he got hit and he had to return home, and in the past few days since his arrival here, he has not been well.
"So he hadn't played much cricket, that is why we decided to go in for a makeshift opener.
"Ahmed is one of our finest openers, it is not that he will be ignored, probably in the one-dayers, by when he is hopefully completely fit, he will be back in his spot."
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