Najam Sethi urges fans to ‘have faith’ in the young Test team
LAHORE: Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Najam Sethi has asked fans to be patient and “have faith” in the young Test side, which played and lost its first series after the retirement of the legendary duo of Misbah-ul-Haq and Younis Khan.
In the absence of Misbah and Younis, Pakistan team – comprised of mostly young players led by Sarfraz Ahmed in his first Test series as captain, lost both the matches against Sri Lanka, ending its unbeaten streak in the UAE since 2009.
As heartbroken fans reacted to the whitewash, Sethi took to Twitter to urge the cricket-mad nation to give the team some time to stand on its feet.
“The boys won CT [Champions Trophy] for you,” he gave a very timely reminder. “Hard to fill the vacuum of Afridi, Misbah & Younas overnight. Give them time to gel into Test form. Have Faith!”
Pakistan were in with a chance of an upset victory when they resumed at 198-5 on Tuesday, with Asad Shafiq and Sarfraz Ahmed knitting a fighting sixth wicket stand, needing a further 119 runs.
But Sri Lankan off-spinner Dilruwan Perera broke the 173-run stand by dismissing Sarfraz for 68 while Shafiq fell for 112, ending Pakistan´s innings at 248 for a 68-run victory.
The defeat is Pakistan’s first in ten series in the UAE, their adopted home since 2009 attack on the Sri Lankan team, which suspended international cricket back home.
The defeat allowed Sri Lanka to replace Pakistan at number six in Test rankings, pushing their opponents to seventh.
Pakistan and Sri Lanka now play a five-match one-day series, the first in Dubai on Friday. They also play three T20 internationals, two in Abu Dhabi and the last in Lahore.