However, they quickly silenced their critics by defeating top-ranked South Africa and Sri Lanka to reach the last four, where they stunned previously unbeaten hosts England before outclassing defending champions India in Sunday’s final.
“Hume to apno ne loota, gairo me kahan dum tha (We were looted by one of us, why blame others).” he wrote in his tweet that caught everyone’s eye, however, it was deleted afterwards. The way we showed character, this is for the nation. “I’m so happy for the nation of Pakistan who have been waiting for this for a long time”. “This is the least we could do”.
“I think it was one bad day for India and Pakistan played what seemed to be a ideal game of cricket”.
Since the departure of captains Misbah-ul-Haq and Younis Khan from the 50-over format in 2015, Pakistan slumped to ninth in ODI rankings and barely managed to qualify for the Champions Trophy, contested by the top eight sides in the rankings.
Sarfraz, who had captained Pakistan to Under-19 World Cup 2006 triumph, especially credited the bowlers for dismissing India for 158.
“Furthermore, the terrorists can not win and cricket must not give up on Pakistan“.
“After the India match I said to my boys, the tournament is not finished yet”.
“When we arrived here (in England), we were No 8 and now we are the champions”. Credit goes to my batsmen, my bowlers and the team management. Thousands gathered in streets to welcome and celebrate with the champions and catch a glimpse of the trophy that came home for the first time for the Champions.
Meanwhile, Arthur paid tribute to Sarfraz’s role as both a tactician and a leader following what was by, the coach’s own admission, a “shambolic” first-up loss to India.
“We have got a group of young players”. We have to keep this momentum going. We have got enough points and now we do not have to go through qualifying, we want to work hard from here.
“Small margins can be massive but we’ve only lost a game of cricket, we need to move forward and learn from our mistakes”.