ISLAMABAD - Former Pakistan Test opener M Wasim has believed that Sarfraz’ captaincy and induction of young blood in the national team made the difference and helped Pakistan win Champions trophy.

Talking to The Nation, Wasim said: “The way the team management and skipper Sarfraz handled the pressure and lifted the shattered players after losing the Champions Trophy opener, it was amazing and a clear indication that Pakistan team has finally found a leader in shape of Sarfraz, who can handle big match pressure and also lead from the front when chips are down.

“The credit must be given where it belongs. The way Sarfraz Ahmad fought back with his team was absolutely mind-blowing, then our selection committee should also be given credit, which showed faith in new players and inducted them in the must-win matches. If there was someone else, he might have opted to enter the match against South Africa with seniors, but the team management gambled and then succeeded. I would not say exactly that it was a gamble, but it was huge risk, it is irony of Pakistan cricket, that normally we don't trust new players and keep bringing back oldies,” he added.

Wasim said in the Champions Trophy, it was all about new players, who stood up and won the title for Pakistan and especially for the millions of long suffering masses, who were deprived of watching international teams and players perform in front of them due to so-called security concerns. “I feel there is no security issue here, as international sports events are being played in Pakistan, but not a single minor incident occurred, our armed forces have done a remarkable job of restoring peace and I am quite sure the day is not far when the ICC and other international sports governing bodies will be left with no other option but to send teams and individuals to play in Pakistan.”

The former cricketer said he must admit after long time, he had seen Pakistan bowling excelling and especially the fast bowlers playing crucial role in the victory. “We were not getting wickets up front but then we found a right-arm strike bowler in shape of Hasan Ali, who has been an excellent talent. I love his aggression, attitude, energy and spirit, which make him a quality bowler and let me assure all that he is bound excel.”

Speaking about Fakhar Zaman, Wasim said he had just walked into the scene and straight away, he had shown how to play modern cricket, which all had been anxiously waiting to witness. “Fakhar has a great technique, cool and calm head and off course, he looked nervous against India, but one has to remember that it was his first major final and it was against India. Every player has a dream to play and perform against India and he did it in style.”

About Junaid Khan, Wasim said Junaid had shown a strong character after all those mishandlings. “Junaid had made a strong comeback and impressed the spectators as well as selectors with his outstanding performances. In fact, everybody played their roles well including Imad, Hafeez and Aamir with his magical spell in final and off course, Shadab Khan, who has a very bright future ahead, Hassan, Rumman and Faheem all have shown that nobody is invincible.”

The former cricketer said it was about the trust and opportunities which boosted the players’ morale and helped them play freely and produce the best results. “Azhar Ali was impressive with bat, Hafeez showed that maybe he could be a power hitter down the order while Babar Azam also contributed with his limitations and I hope he will take his game to next level soon.

“The most impressive thing in the Champions Trophy was Sarfraz’ captaincy, who was very attacking with his tactics, which green caps were missing for a long time plus he has showed a lot of courage to give new players chances and put faith in them. Credit goes to entire team and management but real difference came from Sarfraz' captaincy and inclusion of fresh blood in the team,” he added.

“Imagine few more youngsters in the team, then how well this team will play, but this win doesn't mean everything is fine in our cricket. I hope the PCB won't mask all problems with this win and address areas of concern,” Wasim concluded.