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Leading Pakistan in front of home crowds will be career highlight: Sarfaraz

Leading Pakistan in front of home crowds will be career highlight: Sarfaraz
September 26, 2019

KARACHI (92 News) - Leading Pakistan skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed and his team-mates have urged fans to come out in large numbers as the country gets ready to host a three-match one-day international series against Sri Lanka, which starts on Friday, 27 September.

Pakistan last hosted a bilateral ODI series in May 2015, against Zimbabwe, while Karachi, where all the three ODIs against Sri Lanka will take place, is getting ready to host ODIs for the first time since January 2009.

"Leading the Pakistan cricket team in a bilateral ODI series in front of my home crowd will be one of the highlights of my career," Sarfaraz said on Tuesday.

"I can't wait for Friday, which will mark the memorable occasion, and I hope when I walk out, I have a full house behind me, not only cheering me, but both the sides. Fans are the lifeline for any sport as they are the driving force for any team or player. They give extra energy to the teams and help them produce their very best.

"History will be made on Friday when Karachi will host the first bilateral ODI series since January 2009. I request all local cricket fans to be part of history so that they can tell the next generation that they were at the National Stadium when an international series was played."

Babar Azam, who has been named as Sarfaraz's deputy for the series, added that to walk out as vice-captain of the side in front of the home crowd in the first ODI would be "one of my biggest days".

Babar Azam has only played one ODI in Pakistan – his debut 50-over match against Zimbabwe in Lahore

 "I can't thank enough for the love and respect I have received from all my fans in the early days of my career," he said. "Friday will be one of my biggest days when I will take the field as leading Pakistan vice-captain. I will want the entire country, as well as the National Stadium crowd to make this a day to remember for me."

Leading Pakistan's new head coach and chief selector Misbah-ul-Haq recalled the time when he made his last appearance in an ODI in Karachi as a player.

"Friday's match will be an emotional one for me as I played at the National Stadium when it last staged an ODI, also against Sri Lanka," said Misbah. "Ten years later, I will start my time as head coach of the leading Pakistan national cricket team, so the time has moved really fast.

"As the national cricket team commences its 2019-20 international season in Karachi, I hope the crowds will once again be there to encourage us and help us do better. No player or team can succeed without the support of its fans, and we look forward to them being behind us when we start a new era in Pakistan cricket."

The three ODIs will be played at Karachi's National Stadium on 27 and 29 September, and 3 October, before the teams shift base to Lahore for as many Twenty20 Internationals, starting on 5 October.