Sarfraz Ahmed pakistan captain
Sarfraz Ahmed (AFP Photo)

The head of Pakistan Cricket Board’s (PCB) powerful cricket committee Mohsin Khan is of the opinion that the captaincy across the three formats is taking a physical toll on Sarfraz Ahmed and has advocated him to be relieved from leadership duties as far as Test cricket is concerned.

According to a report in ESPNcricinfo, Mohsin aired his views during a a TV show in Pakistan saying Sarfraz should be allowed to relax and that he felt sorry for the wicketkeeper-batsman after seeing his body language during the 2018 Asia Cup last month.

Pakistan lost both their matches against India at the biennial tournament in the UAE and exited the tournament after losing to Bangladesh in a virtual semi-final.

“I have said it before and I will say it now too with Sarfraz I was saying you got a new guy in, don’t put the burden of three formats on him,” Mohsin was quoted as saying. “It will take such a physical load on him, T20s, ODIs and then Tests if he is captain he will not get any mental relaxation. I had said make him T20 and ODI captain and in Tests, put in a senior player for a year, year-and-a-half which will give him [Sarfraz] time, allow him to relax and groom himself as a leader, to get some confidence.”

He continued, “Sarfraz’s body language was so down. I felt sorry for him that he’s had so much pressure put on him, with T20s, ODIs and Tests. There’s no doubt he is so talented and it’s not as if he is 35-36. He is young, he has a lot of time. That was my view before and it is now as well.”

Mohsin was recently announced as the head of PCB’s cricket committee which also includes Wasim Akram, Misbah-ul-Haq and former women’s captain Urooj Mumtaz. His latest suggestion comes days after he reportedly termed current Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur as ‘stupid donkey’. Irked by the remark, the South African has demanded an apology from the former Pakistan head coach.

Mohsin, who played 48 Tests and 75 ODIs for Pakistan, said he will make his recommendation to the new PCB chief Ehsan Mani. “I have spoken to Ehsan Mani, the final decision will of course be his but I will give him the suggestion. Whatever suggestions I give, it will not be out of personal interest. I will only suggest those things that will help make Pakistan better on or off the field,” Mohsin said.

Sarfraz marked his return to form with scores of 91 and 81 across the two innings of the second Test against Australia earlier this month in the UAE as Pakistan registered a massive 373-run win to pocket the two-match series 1-0. He then led them to a 3-0 clean sweep of Australia in a three-T20I series.

Pakistan next host New Zealand in the UAE. “This New Zealand series, it has Tests, ODIs and T20s, it will give us a better picture of how much mentally stronger Sarfraz has become. I will repeat – I only say this because he is still young and he doesn’t need this much pressure on him. He needs some relief time because wicketkeeping itself is such a difficult job,” the 63-year-old said.