(Disclaimer: this is a work of fiction. Learn to take a joke; you’ll live longer.)
ISLAMABAD – Prime Minister Imran Khan has approved an extension in the tenure of Pakistan captain Sarfaraz Ahmed for another three years, a notification issued by the premier’s office said. Sarfaraz was appointed as the captain during the tenure of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in 2016.
“Sarfaraz Ahmed has been appointed the captain of the national cricket team for another term of three years, for all three formats, from the date of completion of current tenure,” read the brief notification issued by the prime minister’s office. It added that, “the decision has been taken in view of the regional environment and challenges.”
Experts note that regional challenges for Pakistan include the rise of a new Sri Lankan side under Dimuth Karunaratne, an impressive Bangladesh that was one of the highlights of the ODI World Cup, an Afghanistan team that has some of the finest T20 players in the world, the status of UAE as the home ground for the country and the continued threat of archenemy India.
“Virat Kohli’s aggression in West Indies needed us to come up with a strong response to India. What better way to do that than by giving extension to the current leader of Pakistan,” noted retired cricketer Shoaib Ahmed on ARY.
Critics have argued that Pakistan haven’t been performing as well in Tests, where they suffered their first series defeats in the UAE, with an average World Cup rounding off two years of fast decline in the ODIs where they suffered a record 11 straight defeats as well.
“What we need the most right now is continuity and the true implementation of Sarfaraz doctrine. That requires eradication of corruption from cricket to be high on priority than results,” Shoaib Ahmed said.
“Sure Mohammed Amir might have returned to the national side, Salman Butt played in the PSL and Sharjeel Khan might soon play for Pakistan again as well, but the doctrine is still successful. And that’s what you need at a time when other countries in the region are strengthening their squads and winning more and more matches,” Ahmed added.
Analysts also note that with China becoming an associate member of the International Cricket Council in 2017, the regional challenges are going to become more complex in the years to come.