The combination of Sarfraz Ahmed captaincy and the coaching of Mickey Arthur has brought a major change of fortunes for the Pakistan cricket team in the shorter formats of cricket. Perhaps it could be credited to the Pakistan Super League, which has allowed young players such as Hasan Ali, Shadab Khan and Fakhar Zaman to blossom and play extremely competitive cricket.
Though these are still early days for Sarfraz Ahmed as a captain, his numbers are extremely impressive.
In 2016, he was named as captain of Quetta Gladiators in the Pakistan Super League where he took them to the final in the first two editions of PSL but wasn’t able to win at both the occasions. He is the most experienced PSL skipper till now. Before the third edition of PSL, his team Quetta Gladiator had the highest winning percentage of 63.15%.
Sarfraz took over Pakistan’s T20I captaincy from Shahid Afridi after Pakistan’s disastrous run in World T20 2016. Pakistan was ranked 7th in the team ranking, he took Pakistan T20I side to the number 1 spot with the courtesy of 85% of winning ratio (since World T20 2016).
Under the captaincy of Sarfraz Pakistan have played 20 T20I matches and won 17, lost 3.
Sarfraz captain Pakistan’s T20I side in 7 series (including a one-off match against England in 2016) and won all the 7 series
In 2017, Sarfraz captained the side in 10 T20I matches and won 8 of them which makes him the most successful captain of this format in the previous year.
After skippering a one-off match in 2015, Sarfraz was given the ODI captaincy in February 2017 following the resignation of Azhar Ali.
Before Sarfraz wore the captaincy band, Pakistan reached the record lowest ranking position of number 9th spot and was being fed on vulnerable teams like West Indies and Sri Lanka to qualify for the ICC Champions Trophy and was also struggling for the direct qualification in the World Cup 2019.
Sarfraz’s first series as an ODI captain was against West Indies, which Pakistan won 2-1 and qualified for the Champions Trophy
Pakistan entered in the Champions trophy as the lowest ranked side, but they emerged as the winner, beating their arch-rivals India in the final by a huge margin of 180-runs.
Keeping up winning momentum from Champions Trophy, Sarfraz Ahmed’s men whitewashed Sri Lanka in a five-match ODI series.
Sarfraz won 11 ODI matches as captain out of 13 in 2017, which helped Pakistan to qualify directly for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019
The starting of the year 2018 did not turn out to be ideal for Pakistan as they lost the 5-match ODI series 5-0 against the New Zealand in their backyard.
Later on, Sarfraz Ahmed once again steered Quetta Gladiators to the playoffs in the third edition of PSL but missed out on a final this time around.
Recently, Windies toured Pakistan with a weakened squad, but Pakistan dominated them in all three T20Is with sheer conviction due to their flawless performance in all three aspects of the game.
Sarfraz Ahmed has proven his worth as a captain in limited-overs format, however, he is yet to prove himself in Test cricket. He lost two-match Test series against Sri Lanka, it was the first time that Pakistan was playing without Misbah-ul Haq and Younis Khan. He will have to find a way to fill the vacuum of these big names in the playing XI. His next assignment will be a huge challenge for him as he will take on England in their home.
Currently, Pakistan stands 6th in the ODI ranking, 1st in T20Is and 7th in Tests