"I definitely get inspired by him," Sarfaraz Ahmed on MS Dhoni
What's the story?
Ahead of the T20 tri-series against Zimbabwe and Australia, Pakistani captain Sarfaraz Khan has spoken on the impact of Indian legend MS Dhoni on him as a cricketer and a captain. He was awed by the way Dhoni held reins over the Indian side for so long in all the formats of the game, with astounding success too.
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Last year, Sarfaraz took over the ODI captaincy from opening batsman Azhar Ali after Pakistan's dismal returns on their tour of Australia. He had a fabulous start to his new role in the side as he led Pakistan to only their second ICC title in the twenty-first century as he rallied a rather weak on-paper side to global domination by beating India against all odds in the final to clinch the Champions Trophy, the only title that evaded Pakistan.
The heart of the matter
Speaking at a pre-series presser, the habitually outspoken Sarfaraz was all praise for his idol.
MS Dhoni has led his side well as a captain in all three formats of the game, so I definitely do get inspired by him, I have only met him once, which was at the 4th June 2017 during the India-Pakistan game. When I look at him as a player and as a captain, I definitely get inspired by him.
Wicket-keepers have a knack of looking up to their kind only for motivation, such is the uniqueness of them in terms of role on the field that they stand out in a league of their own. For years, Adam Gilchrist was the benchmark with his fine glovework and radical batting that paved the way for an entire generation of explosive wicket-keeping batsmen.
Then, MS Dhoni happened. He added captaincy to the whole Gilchrist package and has now taken over as the role model for the current and upcoming wicket-keepers, his USP being innovation and temperamental superiority.
After imposing performances against Scotland on their tour of UK and an even more impressive 1-1 draw in the Test series against hosts England, Pakistan travel to Zimbabwe to face the hosts and the under-fire Australians in a tri-series.
This will be an important assignment for Sarfaraz given that Pakistan are ranked #1 in the ICC T20 rankings and will have to ensure that they live up to their billing in a series where, as opposed to the usual norms, they start as favorites to emerge the winners.