Pakistan is set to face Sri Lanka in a two-match Test series beginning next month, and the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has announced a 16-member squad for the series, with Babar Azam leading the team. The squad announcement has generated buzz as star fast bowler Shaheen Afridi is making his return to the Test squad after a year. However, the decision to appoint Mohammad Rizwan as the team’s vice-captain has disappointed former Pakistani cricketer Rashid Latif, who believes that veteran player Sarfaraz Ahmed deserved the role.
Latif expressed his disappointment on a YouTube channel, stating that Sarfaraz had made a strong comeback during the series against New Zealand, where he replaced Rizwan in the Playing XI and was named the Player of the Series. According to Latif, Sarfaraz’s previous performance and his inclusion in the upcoming series justify his selection as the vice-captain.
Latif further expressed his opinion that Babar should be the captain in all formats, but no one should be given undue favors by appointing them as vice-captain. In Tests, Latif believes that Sarfaraz is the most deserving candidate for a leadership role.
It’s worth noting that Sarfaraz scored 335 runs in the two-match Test series against New Zealand earlier this year, including a remarkable knock of 118 runs off 176 balls. He was also awarded the Player of the Series.
In addition, the PCB announced the appointment of former South African pacer Morne Morkel as the bowling coach on a six-month contract.
The 16-member squad, led by Babar Azam, will play two Tests in Sri Lanka, marking the beginning of Pakistan’s campaign in the third cycle of the ICC World Test Championship. This series also marks the return of Shaheen Afridi, who has been a crucial part of Pakistan’s bowling attack but has been sidelined due to a knee injury since July last year. Shaheen’s last Test appearance was also in Sri Lanka in July, where he suffered the knee injury, and he last represented Pakistan in the T20 World Cup final against England in October.