Umar Akmal. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Sarfaraz Ahmed, the skipper of the Quetta Gladiators, has admitted that his team is feeling the absence of their star batsman Umar Akmal. Prior to the 2020 edition of the Pakistan Super League (PSL), the Pakistan Cricket Board suspended Akmal under an anti-corruption rule. In a statement, the board said that he can’t take part in any cricket related activity pending an investigation.

The Gladiators’ captain said that their middle-order lacks a bit of experience. However, Sarfaraz didn’t miss out praising Azam Khan, the son of the chirpy Moin Khan. Azam has 139 runs to his name in five matches with a top score of 59, striking at 141.57.  Sarfaraz also lauded the pace attack, consisting of youngsters like Naseem Shah and Mohammad Hasnain with veteran Tymal Mills.

“We are missing Umar Akmal but the inclusion of Azam Khan has helped us. We have a pretty settled side but I still feel we have a little inexperienced though a talented bowling attack as compared to last year. We have a number of options in that department, so it is also a good headache to have,” Sarfaraz was quoted as saying in Cricket Pakistan.

Good to have collected three wins, says Sarfaraz

The Gladiators are currently placed second on the points table with three victories from five games. Having lost to the Multan Sultans by 30 runs, Sarfaraz’s men would next be up against the Lahore Qalandars on Tuesday, March 3 at the Gaddafi Stadium.

“It is good to have collected three wins from five matches, but the critical and crucial phase for us starts now. We now need to win as many matches at the backend of the league matches as possible to secure a place in the top-four,” Sarfaraz said on the eve of the clash in Lahore.

On head-to-head, the Gladiators have a 5-3 lead over the Qalandars. But Sarfaraz doesn’t wish to undermine the opposition, saying that the hosts have the firepower to stage a comeback after three defeats.

“Qalandars is a good side and I will not read too much into their three loses to date,” the 32-year-old from Karachi added. The Qalandars have lost both their matches at home in this year’s PSL.