LAHORE: Pakistan team’s chief coach and national selector, Misbah-ul-Haq has said the year 2019 was a year of mixed on-field performances for the national men’s team.
The team strengthened the claim of Karachi’s National Stadium being the fortress in Test cricket with a win against Sri Lanka to register their first World Test Championship win, but struggled on away tours failing to win in South Africa and Australia.
They won four consecutive group-stage contests in the ICC Cricket World Cup and fell just short of qualifying for the semi-finals on the basis of the net run-rate. They beat Sri Lanka 2-0 at home in their last ODI assignment, but defeats to Australia and England put a dent in their win/loss ratio.
Pakistan remained number one in T20Is throughout the year. They were beaten 2-1 by South Africa in an away series, which were followed by series losses to England, Sri Lanka and Australia.
The PCB appointed Misbah-ul-Haq as the chief selector and head coach after the ICC Cricket World Cup, in 2019. Recapping the 2019, Misbah-ul-Haq said Pakistan ended 2019 on a high note with victory against Sri Lanka but, it was a tough year for Pakistan in Test cricket.
“In white-ball cricket our mainstays like Fakhar Zaman, Hasan Ali and Shadab Khan, on the back of whom we had won the ICC Champions Trophy 2017, lost form at a crucial time which saw us suffer in the ODI World Cup and T20I format. Though, we managed to stay number one in the format throughout the year. Overall, our win ratio in T20I cricket has fallen.”
He said that going further the team has to improve a lot of things in both forms of cricket. He said the current team has enough potential and new players are also making their way in international cricket suggestint that there is a bright future ahead.
“The emergence of Babar Azam as a mega star across all formats is very good news for Pakistan cricket. He remained number one in T20I cricket and is in the top ten batsmen in the ODI cricket. He played some brilliant innings in the World Cup and ended the year by establishing himself as a Test batsman with scintillating performances in Australia and two centuries against Sri Lanka in Pakistan.
Misbah said that the new bowlers like Naseem Shah and Shaheen Afridi have arrived at the scene and have been impressive in Test cricket. “Naseem got five wickets in the last Test against Sri Lanka. Shaheen bowled well in the World Cup and he showed glimpses of being a Test bowler in South Africa, and bowled really well in Australia and here in Pakistan against Sri Lanka.
Pakistan will bank on these two promising fast-bowlers in the future. “Overall, we are on the right track. The more we play the longer format, the more we will improve. We need to do a lot of work in white-ball cricket ahead of the all-important ICC T20 World Cup next year.
“Retaining number one position in T20Is was a big positive for us. No doubt, we did not perform up to the set standards, but this is something we look to build on.
“Mohammad Rizwan performed very well for us in Australia, which was very good for us. Iftikhar Ahmed joined the team in the latter part of the year and the way he has put up performances in the T20I performances was certainly a plus for us.”
He said Pakistan can go a long way with a few more additions in the side and the present players maturing.