Sarfraz Ahmed: ‘The win will be remembered for a long, long time’

The Pakistan captain hopes his team’s historic victory in the Champions Trophy final boosts his country’s cricket and encourage teams to tour the nation.

Sarfraz Ahmed with the trophy after overseeing a 180-run victory over India in the final.   -  Reuters


Sarfraz Ahmed hailed Pakistan's Champions Trophy victory as historic, hoping that it would encourage teams to tour the nation hereafter.

"This win will be remembered not just today or tomorrow but for a long, long time. Now, nobody can [say] that we have not beaten India in the World Cup or a major tournament like that. When we arrived, we were No. 8 in the world. Now, we are champions. This will be the legacy we leave behind, that we beat India in the final. Hopefully, this will boost Pakistan cricket. Hopefully, all countries will now visit Pakistan," he said.

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Sarfraz will pleased with the performances of the likes of Fakhar Zaman and Hasan Ali, who despite a lack of experience delivered on the big stage. "This is the first ICC event for many of these players. Nobody believed we would win. I told the youngsters: 'Just play the way you play in domestic cricket. Don't think, just hit the ball. And Fakhar played like he does in domestic cricket.' Many people felt we couldn't beat India. Credit to the players and the coaching staff for working hard."

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Virat Kohli, meanwhile, was gracious in defeat. "No one goes out there to throw their wicket away or get out. We give our best every time we go out on the field, and I'm really proud of the way the team has played in this tournament," he said. "The cricket is played between two teams. So you have to accept losses, you have to accept that the other team has outplayed you and they've shown better skill than you, they've shown better composure in pressure situations than you."

‘Credit to the opposition’

Kohli rued India's failure to string partnerships together. "When Hardik started hitting, everyone started getting the feeling that if we could take the game deep, then we could probably get closer to the total. But early wickets are never good, especially in a chase. One big partnership would have been the key to set it up nicely, but credit to the opposition. They made us make those mistakes because of the way they were bowling and the way they applied the pressure in the field, as well, and we have no hesitations or shame in admitting that we could not play our best game today."

The Indian skipper was also displeased that the team had conceded 25 extras in a final. "Twenty-five extras is a bit too much in a game like that, and that's something that we certainly need to take care of in the future. Obviously the same bowlers are going to play, but the more consistent you get in learning from games like this, it's better for the team in the future."

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