Windies series vital for morale, says skipper Sarfraz

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KARACHI, Pakistan (CMC) — Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed believes positive results on the tour of West Indies starting this weekend, will be important in boosting team morale in the wake of yet another cricket corruption scandal.

Five players were recently suspended by the Pakistan Cricket Board on charges related to spot-fixing during the just concluded Pakistan Super League, casting a dark shadow once again over Pakistan cricket.

Two of the players — Sharjeel Khan and Khalid Latif — were members of the limited overs side and will now miss the Twenty20 and one-day series against West Indies.

“I don’t want to comment on the PSL issue but yes, we are going through tough times and we need to do well in the upcoming series to boost our people,” Sarfraz said prior to the team’s departure for the Caribbean on Tuesday.

Latif was in good form last September as Pakistan swept West Indies 3-0 in a T20 series staged in United Arab Emirates.

The 27-year-old Sharjeel, a dashing left-hander, was in superb one-day form against Australia last January, scoring three half-centuries in five outings despite Pakistan’s 4-1 loss Down Under.

Sarfraz admitted that Sharjeel’s free-scoring style, which has already brought him a century and six half-centuries in 25 innings, would be missed in the Caribbean series.

“It’s saddening when you lose some players who are perfect for the setup,” the skipper said.

“Sharjeel was the type of player who we needed as he was perfect for the contemporary run-and-gun style of cricket.”

Pakistan face West Indies on Sunday in the first Twenty20 International at Kensington Oval in Barbados before contesting the remaining three games of the series at Queen’s Park Oval in Trinidad.

The three-match one-day series will be played in Guyana from April 7-11.

More in today’s Daily Observer.

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