Zeerak Bilal Satti,
Year started with Pakistan touring South Africa. Pakistan lost against Proteas on all formats. Test series was one sided affair and Pakistan could not able to come closer to South Africa. Only highlight of the series for Pakistan was Babar Azam who batted really well especially against Dale Steyn. He played him beautifully.
But in One day’s green shirts should have come out on top because our team looked better and just the execution was missing.
Then in T20 format, Pakistan played extremely well and margin of defeat was very narrow in two loses during the series. Innings from Babar Azam was master class in 2nd T20. We clearly lacked finishing touch in those games. We were missing those players who can launch big attack in last overs.
Then came ODI series against Aussies in UAE. We didn’t go with our full strength in that series and as a result we lost the series 5-0. Our bowling attack looked ordinary and we didn’t stop Aussies from scoring big. They chased our big targets very easily in that series. Our batsmen played well but again finishing were missing in last two games. Abid Ali was a discovery in that series. He scored 100 on his debut and looked brilliant during that innings.
Pakistan then played a series of one T20 and 5 ODIs against England in England. That series was a nightmare for our blowers. Pakistan batted really well in that series but our bowlers didn’t able to defend big totals. We lost T20 game and ODI series 4-0 with one game was washed out.
It was a year of World Cup. Whole nation was waiting for that tournament to begin. But Pakistan stared miserably against Westindiesandd bowled out on 105. Westindies easily chased down that total. Due to that game our net run rate gone down very badly which effected us later.
Pakistan came back strongly against England by winning that game. Then disaster came when against Sri Lanka our match was washed out. We were favourites in that game.
Pakistan lost its next two games against Australia and India due to batting collapse in middle overs. Game against India was also effected by rain.
Pakistan won its next four matches but damaged had already been done. We finished tournament with 11 points equal to New Zealand but Net RunRate was very low and due to that we couldn’t reach semi finals. England went on to win that tournament first time in their history.
Our World Cup journey was not as good as we would have liked but we beaten two fins it team in that tournament and big positive was Babar Azam. He scored a century and there 50s and two 40s in that tournament and made his reputation throughout the world. But Fakhar Zaman, ,Shoaib Malik and Asif Ali didn’t fire in those matches which caused us a lot. Abid Ali should have given a chance in the world Cup. We didn’t pick him in the squad that’s why we HD to continue with Fakhar even after his failures.
One thing that should mention is weather effected many games in that tournament. Why ICC didn’t change the venue when we knew that rain would have effected matches. Due to broadcasters ICC didn’t change the venue. I think it is more important that matches to be played then to broadcasted.
After the World Cup, Pakistan hosted Sri Lanka for full fledge seines. Series was played in two parts. First Sri Lanka came to Pakistan for ODIs and T20s. Then they came for test Matches. We comfortably won One day series. But surprisingly we lost 3-0 in T20s. That was a big setback for world number 1 team. Babar Azam didn’t click in that series due to which our batting didn’t performe well. Sarfaraz lost his captaincy. I think that decision was not good because under him Pakistan became number 1 in T20. He should have continue till T20 World Cup. But PCB appointed Babar Azam as T20 captain.
Appointment of Babar Azam was too early for him. He should be groomed as a caption before appointing him as captain for national side. In tests Azhar Ali was named as captain. He was tested and failed in ODIs. He looked defensive in his approach during his tenure as one day captain.
We went to Australia for 2 tests and 3 T20s. We lost T20 series. One match was competitive but we looked ordinary in other 2 games. One games was washed out but we were about to lose that game also. Then last T20 was one sided affair. Iftikhar Ahmed played well in 2nd T20 and showed that he can hit big which is a positive sign for Pakistan.
In test series, we lost as expected. Babar Azam again showed his class but none of our batsmen batted well. Our bowlers also looked average and David Warner blasted them to all parts of the ground. Conventionally our bowling attack struggle in Australia but we still gone with 2 new bowlers in that series. Naseem Shah and Muhammad Musa made their test debut. These are clear examples of how easy is to become test player in Pakistan.
So, in December, Sri Lanka came back for test series in Pakistan. It was almost after 11 years when test cricket was gonna played in Pakistan. While nation was waiting for that moment. First test was effected with rain. But response from crowd in Rawalpindi was fantastic. When no result expected on last day, it was house full in Pindi Stadium. It showed how much Pakistanis love their cricket. Abid Ali became first player to score 100 on his ODI and test debut.
In second test, Pakistan came back strongly after conceding a deficit. All top 4 players scored a century each. Azhar Ali came back to form. Abid Ali again showed how talented he is. Sri Lanka bowled out on 212 in their 2nd innings. Naseem Shah took fiver and Pakistan won that game comfortably.
Pakistan found good players like Shaheen Shah, Abid Ali, Naseem Shah and Haris Rauf during 2019. Haris Rauf is bowling superb in BBL and he would be a part of Pakistan eleven in future. He has pace and skills. Similarly Naseem and Shaheen are new sensations for Pakistani bowling attack. Pakistan have to find two or three good batsmen in middle order who can hit big when it needed and also can play along the ground. Also, Pakistan must concentrate on finding good spinners because we lack in spin department.
2019 for Men in green
Zeerak Bilal Satti,