SHARJAH-Quetta Gladiators skipper Sarfraz Ahmed, denying his blunder of changing the batting order and sending Umar Amin at number 3, has said that Umar usually bats at number 3 and he must be given confidence for it.

Speaking at the press conference, Sarfraz said: “Umar Amin is a good player and he usually bats at number 3. I don’t think so that slow batting played any role. Batting is our main concern and we have to pay heed on that area. Watson and others are giving good starts, but they are not scoring big runs.

“Off course, I am disappointed not to win the match despite we have the match under control till the 20th over, but I would like to give credit to my team, the way they showed tremendous fighting spirit and kept us in the match, the match was almost out of our hands, when Zalmi had lost only two players and they were in touching distance. The way Hasting and Watson bowled their hearts out was really amazing. We were so near, but two or three bad balls made the difference in the end,” he added.

About bowling the last over by M Nawaz, Sarfraz said: “Actually we had a meeting in the middle and decided to go with fast bowler, as it was fast bowling, which provided us with wickets. I have in mind Nawaz too, but I took chance that if Anwar Ali bowled well, we could have easily won the match. If we look at the facts, Zalmi required 52 runs in 8 overs. It was very simple equation, but we bounced back, and there were a lot of things in my mind. Sometimes things don’t go in your favour.”

It is quite strange that batsmen are struggling to post huge totals on the board. When Sarfraz was asked whether the pitch is not supportive or bowlers are doing wonders, he said: “I think credit must be given to bowlers, who are working very hard and bowling with line and length. Obviously, pitch is behaving a bit, as it is slow, but I think right throughout the tournament, the bowling remained world class, that’s why the batsmen kept on struggling to post decent runs on the board.”

Anwar Ali remained very expensive and was hit for three sixes in last three matches, which is a sign of concern for Gladiators. On this, Sarfraz said: “Off course, the team rely on senior players and when a senior player is struggling, we have to give him confidence. The way he was working so hard in the nets and played last tournament quite well, I was hopeful that he would produce wonders for the team. Sometimes, it is not your day and hopefully in the coming matches, he will perform well.”

About his plans for next matches, the skipper said: “Off course, things are very tight at the moment. We will sit and decide about the best possible playing XI. We have one day rest and then again, we have to play a match. So it is very tough schedule but we will surely spare some time and sit together to discuss the ways, which can help us win next matches.”

The players have a long season and the main players are getting injured. The skipper said: “Yes, it is a main area of concern. The PCB and players have to be very careful, as last time too, Juniad and Usman Shinwari got injured and the team suffered a lot due to their injuries. “We have to play highly important series and we need fit players, while world cup is also round the corner. We have to be very careful and must ensure minimum injuries especially to our key players,” Sarfraz concluded.




Wahab Riaz sends Sarfraz Ahmed’s off-stump cart wheeling.