KARACHI - Pakistan skipper Sarfraz Ahmed has said that international teams took part in the Champions Trophy in England despite security concerns; hence it is now time for international cricket to resume in Pakistan.

Addressing a press conference here at Karachi Press Club (KPC), the skipper said: “I told the international teams to recognise Pakistan after we won the Champions Trophy,” he said. “Pakistan’s loss has been the greatest because we haven’t played in our country in the last nine years. We do play in the UAE but it is a different feeling playing in your country. Teams are playing in England despite a lot of issues there, likewise they should visit Pakistan too. I hope cricket will soon revive in Pakistan.”

“Pakistan cricket is facing a detrimental loss because of no home cricket. Captaining the national Test side is nothing less than a challenge and the team will certainly miss Misbah-ul-Haq and Younus Khan. It would take time to fill the void left by Misbah and Younus. They always led from the front when the Test team faced a difficult situation,” he added.

Sarfraz said that the team’s next big target is to be consistent in their performances in limited overs cricket. Pakistan’s unparalleled comeback in the 2017 Champions Trophy saw them convincingly beat India in the final after a dismal start to the campaign, but the wicketkeeper-batsman thinks there is still room for improvement. “Pakistani fans now expect a lot from us after we’ve won the Champions Trophy,” he said.

“And we did talk about it while coming back to Pakistan [from England] that we need to bring consistency in the team’s performances. Our next target is to improve further and you will see good results in the future,” he added.

Sarfraz was of the view that the Pakistan Super League (PSL) provided the young players with some much-needed exposure. “Shadab Khan and Fakhar Zaman have played domestic cricket but PSL gave them an identity,” he said.

The 30-year-old, who led the team to their first major ICC trophy after eight years, believes the bravery shown by players during the tournament had led the foundations of revival of cricket fever in Pakistan. “The way we won the tournament, it helped us revive cricket fever in Pakistan. The kids are more attracted towards the sport now. It was a win for the country, no one man can be credited for it alone.”

He also cleared the air about a spat with the senior players in the team. “The coordination with seniors -- Shoaib bhai and Hafeez bhai  -- is great. I always ask them for suggestions and they always help.” He added that seniors are an important part of a team’s plans. “You cannot let senior players go if new talent is coming up. Our team has a very nice combination of senior and junior players. Senior players are needed to guide juniors in pressure situations,” he added.