The volatility of circumstances in life has never managed to etch a calming influence on anyone. In an ideal world, stability is one facet which can never be undermined. In Cricketing circles, Pakistan as a team has over the years garnered a dubious reputation of being unstable and volatile to their own dismay. But, that cannot ever take away their tenacity to punch above their weight especially at times when they are cornered and ready to dismantle into oblivion. In its real essence, Pakistani fans are much acquainted with such imbalance in the scheme of things which makes Pakistan seem like world beaters on a given day and minnows on the others.
The hostile spells by Wasim and Waqar in their heydays narrated a tale of dominance eschewed by poetic serenity as well as stark brutality. Then there were batting stalwarts like Inzamam, Zaheer Abbas and Younis Khan who were proven performers by Pakistani batting standards as well as in their own rights.
Above all, there was the quintessential ‘kaptaan’, Imran Khan who was a successful and inspirational figure on the field and a colourful and debonair one off it.
So, how do Sarfaraz Ahmed and his leadership abilities augur for the entire Pakistani cricketing setup?
The victory over India in the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 can easily qualify as one of their greatest moments in Limited Overs history after the unprecedented and monumental victory in the 1992 Cricket World Cup in 1992.
Taking over the reins from Shahid Afridi after a disastrous 2016 T20 world cup campaign, Ahmed has led Pakistan to become the number one T20 side, a format in which he revels both as a player and as a captain. In the 41 Test matches played so far, he has scored 2267 gritty runs with a useful average of 37.78. Surely, he is no Dhoni or Gilchrist but a spirited performer and a man for a crisis.
But, to be fair to Sarfaraz, he has hardly drawn the attention of the Cricketing pundits either as a player or as a skipper. What people fail to realize with Sarfaraz is that he has managed to win matches more often than lose. The drubbing against New Zealand in New Zealand would surface as a major blip in his captaincy career. But, in the contemporary context, most of the teams strike an incoherent chord when travelling abroad. So, Pakistan can afford to be hopeful of a major turnaround in their Cricketing epoch with Sarfaraz around.
Even as prejudiced people would question the congruity of victories over Ireland, Scotland and Zimbabwe but the fact of the matter is that Sarfaraz Ahmed has brought about with him a freshness of approach. His constant chattering from behind the stumps would seem straight out of the Moin Khan school, but his intent to win matches for Pakistan and do well individually would be put to a stern test in the times to come.
Pakistan has never believed in making a player go through the ranks and emerge as a finished product by the time he makes his debut. But, they have always clung to the conviction of blooding young talent in International Cricket, a template which has benefited many young players from Pakistan who has managed to sparkle in International Cricket albeit sporadically.
So, in the best interest of Pakistan Cricket, the likes of Fakhar Zaman, Hasan Ali and Babar Azam would have to show consistency in their performance which would resurface the fact that Pakistan as an International team has gone through the spiked transitional phase with apparent success and managed to produce players of some caliber akin to the dauntless bunch of the 90’s.
And, amidst the young core group is a man who is underrated yet chirpy and spry, Sarfaraz Ahmed. A man who does not necessarily scream away into the newspaper headlines but one who is quietly doing the right things and trying to change a deeply embedded and obsolete mode of playing cricket.