Sarfraz Ahmed’s alley cats are streets ahead as they seize the moment | Barney Ronay

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Pakistan’s Champions Trophy final defeat of India showed that success in sport can emerge from a less managed environment with perseverance and craft

Rip up the ECB blueprint. Ditch the talent‑pathway, bin the nannying selection policies, puncture the sealed blue Lycra juggernaut. Pakistan are ICC Champions Trophy champions, a victory not just for Sarfraz Ahmed’s wonderfully balanced and skilful team, but also for the idea that success in sport can emerge from a less managed environment, from talent, perseverance and the sheer nerve and craft to seize the moment in front of you.

If Imran Khan’s world champions were cornered tigers this Pakistan team are more a bunch of Manhattan alley cats, an agreeably feisty mix of strays, old hands and kittenish brio, transformed into champions in the last two weeks by a peculiar sporting alchemy. Pakistan did not just creep past India at the Oval. They romped home by 180 runs, outplaying on every register superstar opponents fed by a powerhouse domestic scene, but cowed here into a horribly flaccid heap of wafts and nibbles.

Related: Pakistan v India talking points: Fakhar Zaman drives Pakistan’s transformation | Ali Martin

Related: ICC Champions Trophy 2017: the story of the tournament in pictures

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