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Will be real challenge to follow Misbah, admits Sarfraz

News Agencies | Updated on: 7 July 2017, 1:36 IST
Sarfraz Ahmed

Newly appointed Test skipper Sarfraz Ahmed has admitted that it will be a real challenge for him to follow the footsteps of his predecessor and Pakistan's most successful captain Misbah-ul-Haq in the longest format of the game.

At a reception held at the Prime Minister's residence in honour of Pakistan's Champions Trophy victory on Tuesday, Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Shaharyar Khan announced that he had offered the role to Sarfraz, who accepted it.

Sarfraz has been rewarded with the country's Test captaincy after he led the national team to an elusive Champions Trophy title in England.

Pakistan trounced India by a record 180-run margin in the final at the Kennington Oval in London on June 18 to lift their maiden Champions Trophy title.

Sarfraz feels that leading Pakistan in Tests will be completely different to that of ODIs and Tests.

"It will be very different to ODIs and T20s," ESPNcricinfo quoted Sarfraz as saying.

"Misbah bhai did so well for so long and he really built the side up, a side that had some great success and was very stable. So it will be a real challenge to follow on from that. And Tests anyway are not easy. You need some serious patience. I will try and do as best as I can. I've had some success with the limited-overs captaincy and hope I can do likewise with the Tests," he added.

The wicketkeeper-batsman took over the T20I captaincy from all-rounder Shahid Afridi after the 2016 World T20 and became ODI captain when Azhar Ali resigned in February this year.

"I've come step by step. When I became T20 captain, I was vice-captain first. When I became ODI captain, I was vice-captain. Now I'm Test captain, I was vice-captain," said Sarfraz.

"So of course this is a challenge but I'm prepared for it. My responsibilities have increased so I will have to work harder on my fitness but I've been working hard on the 'keeping and batting as well," he added.

This announcement from the PCB chairman ended the long-lasting speculation over the over the identity of Misbah's successor as Test captain.

The 42-year-old, who retired at the end of Pakistan's tour of West Indies in May, was longest serving and most successful Test captain for Pakistan, leading them to 26 wins in 56 matches.

Misbah retired from the International cricket after Pakistan's first series win against West Indies in the Caribbean island.

Misbah played 75 Test matches, scoring 5,222 runs and is currently seventh on the list of Pakistan's all-time Test run-getters.

The 42-year-old also inspired Pakistan to the top of the ICC Test team rankings for the first time in history in 2015, although their stint at the top was short-lived as India replaced them soon after.

He served as Test captain from late 2010 onwards going to become the most successful test captain for his country.

Sarfraz's Test captaincy debut will be against Sri Lanka in the UAE, which will comprise three Tests, five ODIs and two T20Is starting October 19.


First published: 7 July 2017, 1:36 IST