Lahore: Putting an end to all speculations, Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Ehsan Mani on Tuesday announced that Sarfraz Ahmed would be leading the team for the upcoming 2019 cricket World Cup.

Mani said that Sarfaraz has made great progress since the time he led the Pakistan team for the first time during 2006 under-19 World Cup and that he has become an integral part of the side. There should be no doubt that Sarfaraz is the Pakistan cricket team’s captain. He will lead the team in the series against Australia and also in the World Cup, Dawn quoted Mani, as saying during a press conference in Lahore.

I was always clear in my mind that Sarfaraz would be the captain. Sarfaraz has been an integral part of Pakistan’s World Cup preparations. He has proved to be a good strategist, leader and performer, Mani added.

Listing the achievements of Sarfaraz, Mani said that the right-hand batsman had led the side to 2017 Champions Trophy title along with taking the team to top of the International Cricket Council (ICC) T20I rankings. He led Pakistan to Champions Trophy 2017 title as well as to top of the International Cricket Council’s Twenty20 International rankings, Mani said.

Sarfaraz has reiterated his commitment to the Pakistan cricket team as well as his availability and enthusiasm to captain the team at the World Cup, he added.

After being handed over a four-match ban by the ICC for hurling racial remarks at South Africa pacer Andile Phehlukwayo during their second ODI in Durban, last month, speculations were being made that Sarfaraz might lose his captaincy role.

Talking about these speculations, the wicket-keeper batsman said that he did not give much thought to them while adding that he was focused on fulfilling his responsibilities.

Since I started captaining the team, I did not think so far ahead into the future and worry about if I would be the team’s captain in a year’s time or not. I focused on my responsibilities on a series-to-series basis and will continue to do so,â? Sarfaraz said.

On World Cup preparations, he asserted that the team is in a good shape and are fully committed towards their goals. I am convinced we are in a good shape for the World Cup. We have top quality talent and match-winners with committed support staff in the dressing room, he said.

In the lead up to the World Cup, Pakistan will play five ODIs each against Australia and England, which will also allow us the opportunity to further fine-tune our preparations. I am sure we’ll prove ourselves at the World Cup, he added.

Sarfaraz has played a total of 101 ODIs scoring 1942 runs with an average of 32.92 while in T20s, he has made 745 runs with an average of 28.65.

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