Recalled Sarfaraz has a new lease of life without Pakistan captaincy

Omnisport

Sarfaraz Ahmed feels he can thrive without the pressure of being captain after earning a Pakistan recall for the tour of England.

The wicketkeeper-batsman has not played for his country since he was axed as skipper last October.

Yet Sarfaraz was this week included in a 29-man squad for three Tests and as many Twenty20 Internationals against England in August and September.

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And the 33-year-old, who is back-up to Mohammad Rizwan, is relishing being able to concentrate on his own game without the extra responsibility.

"Obviously it was tough to absorb the fact that I was the captain as well as a regular member and then suddenly, I am nowhere," said Sarfaraz.

"You do get upset but I couldn't really dwell on it too much, because I was fortunate that I had domestic cricket there and then came PSL. So, most of the time, I remained busy.

"Then in this free time in the last three months in quarantine, I got time to reflect and improve my fitness to be ready for any opportunity.

"When you are captain in any format, it definitely brings a lot of pressure on you and this is why it's a big responsibility. When you were playing cricket non-stop without a break, relentlessly, then these breaks really help you.

"I've been talking to Misbah [ul-Haq, the Pakistan head coach] and he was urging me to utilise this time to work smartly to improve my fitness and reflect on what I have been doing wrong.

"When you are captain you basically think differently - more about the team than yourself. Your main focus is on the team result and performances, and in all this you spent more time supporting your players.

"But now I don't have that added responsibility and I will be thinking exclusively how I can play my part as a player in any situation where I am needed.

"Overall, I realised that this seven or eight-month gap away from the national team has helped me rediscover myself as player."

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