An Overview Of Pakistan Cricket This Year

An Overview Of Pakistan Cricket This Year
It has been an eventful year for cricket in Pakistan, with the men’s Asia Cup being hosted in Pakistan and Sri Lanka. This will be the first time an international tournament has been hosted in Pakistan since the 1996 World Cup.

There has been a fair share of controversy surrounding the cup regarding the BCCI's refusal to allow the Indian cricket team to play in Pakistan. Originally, the PCB was supposed to host the cup, but the BCCI's refusal led to a hybrid model being adopted and hosting being shared with Sri Lanka. This has led to further controversy as some in Pakistan call for the ODI World Cup to be held in India later this year to be boycotted by the PCB. Former players have recently spoken out against this notion, with Misbah-ul-Haq and Shahid Afridi calling for the Pakistan team to travel to India, with Misbah calling it "an injustice to the fans" for Team Pakistan not to go.

While there has been a fair share of controversy, fans of Pakistan cricket should be optimistic about the future. The success of Pakistan-A in the ACC Emerging Cup came as the emerging Pakistani cricketers were able to successfully defend their title and secure victory in the final against India-A earlier this week. Star performers Sufyan Muqeem and Tayyab Tahir gave match-winning performances on the day. Pakistan-A’s success is an excellent sign for the future, showing the fans that the future of Pakistan cricket is in good hands as the senior talent guides the next generation of cricketers into the fold. While the future may be looking good, the present is looking great for Team Pakistan as we head into the Asia Cup and the upcoming ODI World Cup.

This year, Pakistan’s ODI team took the No. 1 spot in the rankings following a series win over a depleted New Zealand team earlier in the year. Even though the Kiwis were not at full strength with many key members of their team missing due to injury and commitments in the IPL, it does not take away from the achievement for the team. Pakistan also received a boost with the return of star bowler Shaheen Shah Afridi from injury as he reintegrated into the team. The biggest success for Pakistan so far this year has come only this week with the end of Team Pakistan’s test drought. The team was finally able to grab a win against Sri Lanka, ending the over-360-day streak without a win in test cricket. With Pakistan looking poised to win a second game in the next test match, they find themselves in a commanding position entering Day 3.

It has not been all sunshine and rainbows for the team, as a shock loss to Afghanistan came earlier in the year in the bilateral T20I series, where many emerging talents were given opportunities but couldn’t win the series, losing out 2-1. Pakistan also suffered a defeat in an ODI series against New Zealand at the start of the year.

Fans should have high hopes for Team Pakistan in the upcoming Asia Cup and will get to see international cricket in Multan and Lahore, even though only four matches are to be played in Lahore. This should signal a long-overdue return to hosting international cricket in Pakistan without fear. In the future, Pakistan should be able to host full tournaments, and this can be seen as a step towards that reality.

While the Pakistan women’s team suffered a disappointing T20I world cup, they now face the upcoming Asian Games in China’s Hangzhou province. Pakistan will aim to complete their hat-trick of gold medals for cricket in the Asian Games, with wins coming for the women’s team the last time cricket was included in the Asian Games. They also face a series against South Africa to prepare for the games, and it will be their first bilateral series of the year as well. The team goes into the games without experienced player and former captain Bismah Mahroof, but with the return of Diana Baig from injury and new talents from the U-19 team, Left-Arm spinner Anoosha Nasir and Right-Handed batter Shawaal Zulfiqar received call-ups.

The most exciting part of the year for cricket fans is just around the corner, and soon cricket fever will take over the country as the tournaments above kick off, starting with the Asia Cup on the 30th of August. Pakistan cricket is in a well-prepared state, and they go into the Asia Cup and World Cup with a good chance of winning.

It is a great time to be a fan of Pakistani cricket.