Analyzing Sarfraz Ahmed’s run with the bat in 2018
Born on May 22, 1987, in Karachi, Pakistan's Sarfraz Ahmed has reached that height of success no one would have even dreamt of for him.
He struggled to find a place in the side during the late 2000s and early-2010s due to the cemented place of Kamran Akmal in the side. After a few matches, his claim to fame came during the Cricket Wolrd Cup in 2015, and he has achieved a lot since then.
Sarfraz's notable achievement during his early days was winning the ICC U-19 World Cup in 2006 where he led the Pakistani team and defeated India in the final in a low-scoring encounter.
After a few impressive performances with the bat and the gloves in 2015, he was awarded Pakistan’s T20 captaincy in 2016 and was named Pakistan’s ODI captain on February 9 2017 after Azhar Ali stepped down.
Following the retirement of Misbah-ul-Haq from Test cricket, he was also handed the reins of Pakistan’s Test team, putting all of Pakistan’s international cricket responsibility on his shoulders.
Under his captaincy, Pakistan won the Champions Trophy in June 2017, which remains his biggest achievement to date. In March 2018, on Pakistan Day, Sarfraz became the youngest cricketer to be awarded the Sitara-i-Imtiaz.
However, over the years, since 2015, his batting has seen a decline and has thus decreased his value in the team.
Never meant to be a pure wicketkeeper for the side, he was chosen for his batting abilities too which kept him at the forefront of the squad. Criticism has increased since his dismal performance with the bat against New Zealand in UAE, and the last match of the year against South Africa at Centurion on Boxing Day.
Let’s take a look at his overall batting performance for the year 2018, and evaluate his performance this year.
#1 T20 Internationals
Career Avg: 28.65
2018 Avg: 32.18
Sarfraz has generally been seen as an aggressive player. His aggressive mentality is what has usually helped Pakistan in terms of captaincy decisions, and the same mentality has helped him bail Pakistan out of trouble while batting.
Seen as a handy lower order batsman, Sarfraz’s career average is not very impressive in T20Is as he has an average of 28.65 which is at par when compared to other wicketkeeper-batsmen in the game.
In 2018, however, Sarfraz has done better as he averaged 32.18 in internationals while his strike rate is also much better at over 145.
One of the main reasons for the surge in his average and strike rate for 2018 is because he made his career-best score of 89 not-out in 2018 against Scotland. Other than that, he has had a few starts where he has reached 30 but then got out at crucial times. His next best score came right at the start of 2018 when he scored 41 against New Zealand.