Haroon Rasheed, shared a revealing story that shed light on the insecurity felt by Sarfaraz Ahmed, during his previous tenure as chief selector. The incident took place in 2015 when Pakistan’s then one-day captain Azhar Ali, Sarfaraz Ahmed, and batter Asad Shafiq had decided to perform Hajj, the annual Muslim pilgrimage.
Around the same time, Pakistan was scheduled to play an ODI series with Zimbabwe in first week of October. The national selection committee had initially planned to rest the three players for the three ODIs in Zimbabwe, allowing them to focus on their pilgrimage.
Rasheed recounted the incident, stating that he had informed Azhar Ali about the decision and advised him to relay the information to Sarfaraz and Asad as well. However, a few hours later, Haroon received a call from Sarfaraz expressing his desire to go to Zimbabwe for the series. Sarfaraz voiced his concerns about being targeted and potentially losing his place in the team, leaving Haroon at a loss for words.
“Pakistan was supposed to tour Zimbabwe. I am telling you about it in terms of insecurities. Asad Shafiq, Azhar Ali and Sarfaraz Ahmed were going for Hajj. Pakistan had a match next day after the completion of Hajj. So I told Azhar that you three should focus on performing Hajj and can rest for the series. He agreed. I told them that you should let Sarfaraz and Asad know about it as well,” Haroon Rasheed recalled while speaking to a local news channel.
“After one or two hours, I got a call from Sarfaraz and said that he wants to talk to me. He said he wants to go to Zimbabwe. He said some things after which I had no answer. He said ‘you don’t know Haroon bhai that they are after me and they will kick me out’” Haroon revealed.
Rasheed emphasized the need for better communication between selectors and players to address such insecurities.
“The point is we as selectors need to have better communication with players so that they don’t feel insecure about their places,” he added.
All three players ended up playing the aforementioned ODI series, which Pakistan won by a margin of 2-1. Another wicketkeeper-batsman, Mohammad Rizwan, was also part of the ODI squad, and outperformed Sarfaraz as a batter in that series. Rizwan averaged 83 with the bat, while Sarfaraz averaged 26.50.