Sarfraz Ahmed happy after Pakistan fight back against Australia in Abu Dhabi

Pakistan were under the cosh for large parts of the first day of the second Test in the UAE capital. (AFP)
Updated 16 October 2018

Sarfraz Ahmed happy after Pakistan fight back against Australia in Abu Dhabi

  • Pakistan captain scores 96 after criticism having made just 74 runs in previous six Test innings.
  • Australia closed the day at 20 for two, trailing by 262 runs.

ABU DHABI: Pakistan skipper Sarfraz Ahmed said he was happy that he responded to pressure from all sides with a brilliant 96 on Tuesday on the first day of the second Test against Australia.
The 31-year-old added 147 runs for the sixth wicket with opener Fakhar Zaman — who also scored 96 — to lift Pakistan from a precarious 57 for five to 282 all out at Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi.
Australia closed the day at 20 for two, trailing by 262 runs with eight wickets in hand.
After his below-par 15-run innings and weak wicketkeeping in the first Test which ended with his team unable to turn a strong position into a victory, Sarfraz faced calls for his sacking as Test captain.
“Yeah the pressure was there, definitely,” said Sarfraz, who had made just 74 runs in the his six previous Test innings.
“A lot of it. You know it’s coming from all corners. Somebody is saying leave Test cricket, somebody is saying leave captaincy, some are saying leave him out of the team.
“When all this happens and you score runs then it’s a bit of relief and then to do it in a situation where you were 57 for five and in a really bad shape...”
Sarfraz said Pakistan had fought back admirably having seen Australia spinner spinner Nathan Lyon had rocked Pakistan in the morning, reaching lunch with figures of four for 12.
“It’s good that we scored 282 and then got two wickets, including that of Usman Khawaja because he can play a long innings, so I think it has become even for both the teams now,” said Sarfraz.
Sarfraz praised Zaman, who is playing his first Test.
“Fakhar played a brilliant knock and I got very good confidence from him because I like that the other batsmen rotate the strike and he did that and played brilliantly in his first match.
“He deserved credit for doing so well.”
The first Test in the two-match series ended in a draw in Dubai last week.


Cricket umpiring ‘extremely challenging’ in high-tech era, says Taufel

Updated 31 min 57 sec ago

Cricket umpiring ‘extremely challenging’ in high-tech era, says Taufel

  • Players can challenge umpires' calls using the Decision Review System
  • Cricket's embrace of technology has been echoed by other sports including tennis

New Delhi: Umpiring cricket matches has become increasingly difficult because of the technology now monitoring play, according to former top match official Simon Taufel.
With dozens of cameras and other technology ready to expose mistakes, the pressure is on the officials who make the crucial calls, said the 48-year-old Australian.
“It can be extremely challenging obviously, if it would be easy everyone would be doing it. It’s all about learning through mistakes,” Taufel told AFP in an interview.
Players can challenge umpires’ calls using the Decision Review System, which employs slow-motion replays, ball-tracking technology, audio sensors — the ‘Snickometer’ — and even heat-sensing, known as Hot Spot, to check whether the ball hit the bat.
Cricket’s embrace of technology has been echoed by other sports including tennis, rugby and football, where match officials have also found themselves under growing scrutiny.
“When you compete with those 30-odd cameras, the ball-tracker, Snicko, Hot Spot, the three experts in the commentary position, there are times when you don’t deliver perfection,” said Taufel, who stood in his first Test when he was only 29.
“But that’s part of life. Roger Federer loses the odd match, Tiger Woods misses the odd fairway, these things do happen but if you have paid the price you might as well get the learning and benefit out of it.”
Known for his accuracy and extreme fitness, Taufel maintained immense respect from players up to his retirement from the international game in 2012.
He was named umpire of the year for five straight seasons between 2004 to 2008 by the International Cricket Council.
Taufel become an umpire performance and training manager with the ICC at the age of 41 and has recently authored a book, “Finding the Gaps.”
“I ask people to focus on the process, don’t go for the outcome other people are looking for. People are going to judge you anyway, so give them ‘you’,” he said.


Taufel made headlines after the World Cup final in July, when he pointed out that England should have been awarded five runs and not six from a freak deflection in their last regulation over — an umpiring mistake which otherwise went unnoticed.
The hosts went on to win by the barest of margins, on overall boundaries scored, after they were level with New Zealand after 50 overs and an extra ‘super over’.
Taufel’s most vivid memory is a moment that shook the cricketing world in 2009, when he was on a bus in Lahore that was attacked by extremists targeting the Sri Lanka team.
But he hopes cricket makes a full return to Pakistan, which has largely been shunned by touring teams since the attack but which is awaiting a two-Test tour of Sri Lanka in December.
“Never say never. Things change. There is no country in the world that is immune to bad things happening,” said Taufel, who was born in the Sydney suburb of St. Leonards.
“I do hope that cricket spreads to more parts of the world and even though it was a traumatic experience in Pakistan, I sincerely hope that we see international cricket played there again.”
Among other innovations in cricket, India is set to experiment with a separate no-ball umpire in the Indian Premier League after some controversial incidents in this year’s edition of the Twenty20 tournament.
Taufel said he is in favor of experiments in the game but warned the authorities against making hasty changes.
“I would encourage people to not necessarily make emotional reactions because of one or two incidents,” said Taufel.
“And make sure that we are making change that is adding value rather than searching for perfection that we really know doesn’t exist.”