Phenomenal rise to the top T-20 rank once again

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By M Muzamil Asif

Pakistan has been dominant in T20i format since the day Sarfraz Ahmed was handpicked as a captain of the shorter format after the retirement of flamboyant All-rounder Shahid Khan Afridi.

I think that appointment was the turning point for the team who was struggling earlier, having no one to accelerate power to achieve good results. We were dropped at no.8 after the T-20 World cup 2016.

The success of Sarfraz as a captain in the shorter format tends the PCB to attain his services in ODI’s and then later in Test format as well.

In Sarfraz’s captaincy Pakistan has once again regained the top slot in ICC T20i rankings. Pakistan defeated New Zealand 2-1 in T20 series concluded last month.

Sarfraz’s records in Tests are not too good as under his leadership low-profile Srilanka outclassed Pakistan 2-0 in Test series in last September in UAE.

30-year-old Karachi born wicket-keeper has faced so many hurdles during his captaincy and one of them was to tackle the seniors in the team. However he has maintained a good environment of the dressing room which helped him achieving top-notch results for Pakistan.

Sarfraz was off to a winning start as a captain in his first match against England in loan T20i. Pakistan won that match by 9 wickets.

After that match Sarfraz never looked back and under his captaincy Pakistan has won 14 T20 matches out of 17.

The ODI series in New Zealand was the worst tour for Sarfraz, the hosts whitewashed Pakistan. New Zealand demolished the Champion’s trophy winning side without giving them a chance to get off the mark.

The team who was undefeated since last nine ODI’S, faced humiliating 5-0 defeat.

None of us was expecting such a poor show which the team had displayed in ODI’S. They could have done much better than this.

The ODI series kicked off with immense expectations but the team ended it poorly. The consecutive defeats lowered the morale of the players and it seemed like the players weren’t certain about how to defend themselves in front of the strong opponents.

The startling results of the ODI series depressed the fans a lot but still they supported the team in T20i’s hoping that the team would progress.

The shorter format started with a defeat when Pakistan Lost to New Zealand by 7 wickets in the first T20.

Pakistan is well known for miracles just like the Champions Trophy triumph.

Who was expecting such an outstanding performance by a team who had already lost 6 matches in a row?

Literally there are no words to express the performance of the team who despite suffering 6-0 defeat, won the T-20i series terrifically.

Before winning Champions Trophy, Pakistan did not have much to lose; as a result they played fearlessly and seized the title from the other teams.

The team will have to work hard on the longer format of the game because the ODI whitewash is indicating towards the alarming situation in upcoming times.

Pakistan after losing the ODI series somehow managed to retain 6th slot in ICC ODI ranking.

Now it’s time for the team management and the board to take some bold decisions to make the team stronger in longer formats.

Pakistan is standing at 7th spot in ICC Test team rankings, it’s unbelievable that the team who was at the top by the end of 2016, has faced serious setbacks in the longer format of the game. It is really a matter of concern.

If PCB really wants to set things back on track they should stop their players from playing International leagues during National tournaments.

The board should conduct three-day and four-day matches as much as possible which would help in developing the players’ mental strength.

PCB should be looking into the matters and must try to resolve them as cricket has a huge fan following in Pakistan and people want to see the game progress in the country.

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Story first published: 7th February 2018

Originally Posted on SamaaNews

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