Coach backs Sarfraz to lead Pakistan at Cricket World Cup

Pakistani cricket team coach Mickey Arthur speaks to the media in Lahore on Feb. 8, 2019, following their team tour of South Africa. (AFP)
Updated 08 February 2019

Coach backs Sarfraz to lead Pakistan at Cricket World Cup

  • Arthur said that PCB chairman had discussed reappointment with him prior to taking the decision
  • Pakistan's media questions whether move was a political riposte at the ICC

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur says it’s time to move on from captain Sarfraz Ahmed’s four-match ban for a racial taunt and concentrate on finalizing the team for the Cricket World Cup.
Sarfraz was reaffirmed on Tuesday as captain to the end of the World Cup in July, despite the Pakistan Cricket Board saying its policy was to name the captain on a series-to-series basis.
Pakistan media have questioned the Sarfraz decision, including whether it was a political riposte at the ICC for banning Sarfraz. Private broadcaster Geo News wondered whether the PCB did a U-turn or succumbed to pressure from unnamed quarters.
On the national team’s return on Friday from the tour of South Africa, Arthur said PCB chairman Ehsan Mani talked with him and chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq before reappointing Sarfraz as captain.
“We’ve made that decision because we are very comfortable with Sarfraz leading this team forward,” Arthur said in Lahore. “There’s clarity, there’s no more speculation.”
Sarfraz was banned for racially taunting South Africa all rounder Andile Phehlukwayo in an ODI last month in Durban. He returned home and missed the last two one-day internationals and the entire three-match Twenty20 series.
“What he did was wrong and it was worked through,” Arthur said. “Saffy took it on the chin, he apologized, he moved forward, everything was handled properly.”
Arthur believed Sarfraz’s main job is wicketkeeping, and he was not worried about his captain’s dip in batting form.
“He (Sarfraz) has dropped eight balls in four and a half months, so he is not out of form in his core job,” Arthur said. “I’m not, and I want to reiterate, not worried about Sarfraz Ahmed’s (batting) form.”
Pakistan lost the test, ODI, and T20 series in South Africa.
While Arthur acknowledged Pakistan needed to improve a lot in test matches, he was disappointed to lose the ODIs 3-2 and the T20s 2-1.
“We thought we were as good as South Africa in those conditions,” he said.
Arthur criticized the test pitches as none of the games went to the fifth day. But Arthur said Pakistan was not the only team which has struggled in South Africa.
“I don’t think there’s any coincidence that no Asian team has won a test series in South Africa,” he said. “So we know we’ve got a lot of work to do with our test side.”
He picked out Babar Azam for praise, for becoming the batting mainstay in white-ball cricket.
“South Africa is the toughest place to bat ... to see Babar Azam’s development across all formats on this tour was simply amazing and I think was something to be proud,” he said.
The South African-born Arthur said he had a pool of about 20 players from which the final 15 will be picked for the Cricket World Cup in England and Wales.
“We’re probably ahead of lot of other teams ... we have condensed our pool and now have to finalize it after the Australia tour (in March), so we are pretty much on track.”


Saudi esports world cup winner a ‘class’ role model for young players: Gaming chief

Updated 15 November 2019

Saudi esports world cup winner a ‘class’ role model for young players: Gaming chief

  • Prince Faisal said the fast pace of technological advances was changing not only how people lived but their view of sport.

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s 2018 FIFA eWorld Cup winner Mosaad Al-Dossary was the kind of role model young players should be looking to emulate, according to the Kingdom’s esports gaming chief.

President of the Saudi Arabian Federation for Electronics and Intellectual Sports (SAFEIS), Prince Faisal bin Bandar bin Sultan, told Arab News he was “proud” of Al-Dossary for his esports achievements and for showing “his class as a human being.”

Speaking on the sidelines of the Misk Global Forum, in Riyadh, the prince said the fast pace of technological advances was changing not only how people lived but their view of sport.

Equating esports to traditional sports, he stressed it was important that young people moderated their time playing video competitions. 

“Moderation in everything,” he quoted his father as telling him.

“Everything has its positives, within reason. I don’t expect our professional (esports) players to be playing for 18 hours a day. What we advocate is having good mental health, social health as well as good physical health.”

Prince Faisal said it was important that youth chose their heroes carefully, and Al-Dossary was an example of the perfect role model. 

“I’m proud of him for all of his many accomplishments in gaming, but I’m prouder of who he is as a person.”

He noted that during Al-Dossary’s winning participation in the Manchester FUT Champions Cup, in the UK, one of the tournament’s young competitors had fallen ill and was taken to hospital. Al-Dossary had ducked out of victory celebrations to go and visit his sick opponent, taking with him the green scarf awarded to world cup qualifiers which he left on the young man’s bedside table as a gift.

“I’m prouder of him for doing that, brightening up his opponent’s day, than I am of him winning the world cup,” the prince said. 

“He showed his class as a human being, not as an esports player. And that’s what we expect of all of our athletes and all of our young kids across all industries and sports.

“That’s the caliber of person that we have in Saudi, in our communities and that’s what I want to showcase to the world.”

Prince Faisal admitted that online harassment could be a problem, but said it was a global issue that could only be solved through education.

“There are errors, and esports and gaming is a new era, and it’s a new era of accessibility. Along with that comes a learning curve and an education curve,”he added.