All quarters must rally behind Pakistan, says Sethi

Source: Published in Sports on Monday, March 9, 2015

KARACHI: Pakistan team needed strong backing from all quarters to achieve favourable results in the World Cup, chairman Executive Committee of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Najam Sethi said on Sunday.

“Without support of the nation, former cricketers, experts and the media, Pakistan team cannot achieve their objective of reaching the quarterfinals,” the former PCB chief said in an interview.

Pakistan had not been among the favorites in the global event but they proved their prowess against the Protease with a wonderful victory, Sethi stated while saying: “Winning three matches in a row after a poor start was a great comeback by our team.”

Sethi said that after losing back-to-back games against arch-rivals India and then against the West Indies media blasted the PCB, team management, coaches and players with some going on to abuse them. However, he appreciated the role of electronic and print media after Pakistan team returned to winning ways and showed fighting spirit against Zimbabwe and South Africa.

The ex-chairman besides being all praise for the greenshirts for being able to be clicking in almost all areas of the game also welcomed induction of Sarfraz Ahmed into the squad by admitting that the change in selection changed fortunes of the side.

Both the public and the PCB chairman demanded that Sarfraz be inducted into the team, said the ex-chairman while stating that gloveman came up to expectations on his World Cup debut.

Lauding Sarfraz’ heroics in leading from the front after being excluded from the first four games, Sethi held: “He played attacking cricket, for he not only batted well but also showed jaw-dropping performance behind the stumps by taking record-equaling six catches.”

The chairman Executive Committee also showered praise on Pakistan pace quartet in Mohammad Irfan, Rahat Ali, Wahab Riaz and Sohail Khan, saying all four bowled well and were brilliantly supported by wicket-keeper Sarfraz.

“The body language of players was good from the outset which got a boost from a proactive Misbah-ul-Haq whose quick changes in the bowling proved successful,” he pointed out.

“Team confidence will be high in wake of triumph against South Africa which will benefit them particularly the batsmen,” Sethi, who is also ICC president-designate, hoped while admitting that the greenshirts had got batting problems.

With six points to their credit, Pakistan face fast-rising Ireland in a crucial match at Adelaide Oval on March 15.

Commenting on sending players to the World Cup games from outside 30 probables, he said it was not his domain and questions should be put to chief selector Moin Khan, captain Misbah and head coach Waqar Younis.

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