Growing up in the 21st century and being a Pakistani cricket fan has not been an easy when it comes to Pakistan versus India contests.
Pakistan has survived sometimes with acts of individual brilliance every now and then but when it comes to bigger stages, it has often perished under the heap of expectations and negligence.
The dominance of the previous two decades was over and Pakistan had to climb the ladder of inexperience and unpredictability, both of which have always been an evident feature in all of Pakistan’s triumphs and defeats.
While Saeed Anwar was making the last century of his career in a losing cause against India, a teenager was sitting at home watching all of this with only one question in his mind, what can he do to turn the tables over?
But unlike most of the teenagers who forgot the miseries of yesterday soon enough, this teenager took it upon himself to end this adversity sooner than later.
This teenager, with the passage of time, developed the nerves of steel and the endurance of a fighter.
He was made the captain of the national U19 team and entrusted with the responsibility of defending the title that one of his peers had won two years ago. His name is Sarfaraz Ahmed.
Sarfraz Ahmed, with his aggression and streetwise captaincy, led his side to the final of the U19 World Cup. And there he was, at the biggest stage against the same arch-rivals against whom he contemplated turning the tables few years ago.
There were flashbacks of miseries, there were some doubters but Sarfraz had his sight on the trophy, not just in the material sense, but the more important trophy of proving that beating the archrivals at the biggest stage was not far-fetched.
But what’s a good success story without the twists, and again the unpredictability of Pakistan appeared like a bump or maybe an uncovered manhole in the road to glory.
Pakistan’s historic batting woes pulled Sarfaraz back, at least for a while. Pakistan was summed up for a meager total of 109, to top it off, there was no inning break for Sarfraz to regroup his troops and lift their spirits.
Sarfraz however had faith in bowlers and they reciprocated in the best possible way. Sarfraz had done it, he had achieved his dream.
But as they say, sky is the limit, this was not it for Sarfraz, he had to go back to the broken domestic structure of Pakistan and find a way to the national side of Pakistan.
He struggled for a few years, but when an opportunity came, he grabbed it with both hands and helping Pakistan in winning one crucial match after another. And at the coming of age, he was appointed the captain of Pakistan Cricket Team.
One fine Sunday morning, a grownup Sarfaraz was leading another Pakistan side in the final of another major ICC event final and again, the odds were stacked up against him.
There were many doubters again, but if there was somebody who didn’t even have a speck of doubt about the glory, it was Sarfaraz himself. He had done it before while being a rookie, he had all the belief to do it again.
The youngsters in the side must have given Sarfaraz a deja vu to the glory of the past. He instilled the same belief into the team and inspired them to achieve what he had been dreaming ever since he was a teenager. Sarfaraz is here and he definitely has big goals set ahead of him.
That is the Sarfaraz Pakistanis know, that is the Sarfaraz they believe in.