By: Waqas Jawaid
The political scenario which Pakistan is going through these days is not very pleasing, and the year 2017 has proved to be quite complicated for Pakistan politics.
But when we talk about sports is vice versa to politics. Cricket is the sport that holds special significance among all others in Asian countries, especially in Pakistan.
This is the land of a nation which did not close eyes even in its worst circumstances. This is a tale of passion of a nation whose hearts beat for the game called cricket.
People are so crazy for it that they sleep, eat and breathe cricket. Although the national sport of Pakistan is Hockey but cricket attains the highest rank among all sports.
The year may be ending, but Pakistan’s victorious campaign in the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 remains an unforgettable memory for the fans.
CHAMPIONS TROPHY WINNER
Ranked eighth in the ICC ODI Championship at the start of the tournament, Pakistan started poorly, before improving progressively in each game. They lost to India in the first game by 124 runs in a sloppy display, but then defeated top-ranked South Africa by 19 runs by virtue of Duckworth–Lewis method in their next game.
The final of the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy was played on 18 June 2017 between Pakistan and India at The Oval in London, to determine the winner of the eighth edition of the ICC Champions Trophy.
In an unexpected performance, Pakistan beat India comfortably to win their maiden ICC Champions Trophy, outclassing them across all departments to win by 180 runs, which was the largest margin of victory in the final of an ICC ODI tournament.
FAKHAR ZAMAN’S BLISTERING TON:
The quiet, unassuming batsman became a force to suppose with overnight after blasting 114 against India and propelling Pakistan to a formidable total of 338-4.
Fakhar Zaman of Pakistan received the Man of the Match award for scoring a sublime 114.
YOUNIS KHAN MARKS 10,000 RUNS
Former captain and legendary batsmen Younis Khan makes history as he becomes the first Pakistani batsmen to join 10,000-run club.
Younis had been Pakistan’s leading run-scorer in Tests since October 2015, when he went past Javed Miandad’s tally of 8832 runs during the Abu Dhabi Test against England.
The Sabina Park in Kingston, Jamaica, finally saw the stalwart become just the 13th man in the history of Test cricket, and the first Pakistani, to reach the five figure mark on Sunday, the third day of the first Test against the West Indies.
A day earlier, Younis had said he might not end his 17-year international career along with his captain Misbah-ul-Haq at the conclusion of the West Indies tour.
He retired from ODI cricket in November 2015. He retired from all forms of international cricket at the conclusion of the series against the West Indies in May 2017.
Younis Khan represented Pakistan in 115 Test matches, 265 One-Day Internationals and 25 Twenty20 Internationals.
REVIVAL OF CRICKET: PSL 2 FINAL IN LAHORE
The 2017 Pakistan Super League was the second season of the Pakistan Super League, a franchise Twenty20 cricket league which was established by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) in 2016. On 19 October 2016, the league chairman Najam Sethi announced to hold PSL Final in Lahore.
It was the biggest landmark in the history of Pakistan as the first step towards revival of cricket.
The historic final of PSL-2 in Lahore, where various international prominent names landed after eight years. This excited event was another milestone achieved by the PCB.
HISTORICAL TEST SERIES WIN AGAINST WEST INDIES
The green shirts headed to West Indies for the next series from March to April that includes four T20Is, three ODIs and three Tests, in which Pakistan manage to attain a convincing victory over the hosts in all three formats.
Pakistan had won a thrilling third and final Test with six balls to spare to clinch a first series victory in the West Indies soil provided fitting farewell to the retiring captain Misbah ul Haq and veteran Younis Khan.
In that Match Spinner Yasir Shah bagged 25 wickets in the three-match series, which is the most by any bowler in a three-match series to be played in West Indies. He surpassed Imran Khan, who had taken 23 wickets in 1988.
With this historical win Misbah becomes the first Pakistani captain as well as Asian captain from Pakistan to achieve this victory as no other captain from Pakistan having done so in the last seven tours to the West Indies.
Pace sensation Pakistan’s seam bowler Hasan Ali added another feather to his young career, already filled with records as he became the number one bowler in ODI cricket.
Hasan’s epic feat came after his impressive showing throughout the year. The youngster became the fastest Pakistani to reach the 50 wickets mark in ODI cricket, reaching the feat in just 24 innings Hasan broke the record of the legendary Waqar Younis.
Pakistan’s left-arm spinning allrounder Imad Wasim risen to the top of the ICC’s T20I rankings for bowlers in 2017.
All-Rounder Muhammad Hafeez retained No 1 spot in ICC ODI All-Rounder rankings in 2017. Although he had seen many ups and down in his career in the year as his bowling action reported once again. Right now PCB is helping him in remodeling his bowling action.
Leg spinner, Yasir Shah, became the joint second quickest bowler overall and quickest spinner to take 150 Test wickets. Yasir equalled former Pakistan fast bowler, Waqar Younis’ record of reaching this milestone in 27 Test matches. Yasir also broke Saeed Ajmal’s record, who grabbed 150 wickets in 29 matches.
Babar Azam smashed his way to the quickest 1,000 runs in Pakistan One Day International (ODI) history in just 21 innings ODI against Australia.
WORLD XI TOUR
Pakistan welcomes World XI as international cricket comes home. The star-studded team, led by South Africa’s Faf du Plessis, was welcomed by Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Najam Sethi at the Lahore airport.
The World XI features du Plessis’ countrymen Hashim Amla and David Miller, plus Bangladesh’s Tamim Iqbal, New Zealand’s Grant Elliott, England’s Paul Collingwood and Australia’s George Bailey in a strong batting line-up.
The three Twenty20 internationals played at Gaddafi stadium Lahore all won by Green shirts.
The Green Shirts continued their winning run in the three-match T20I series against Sri Lanka, clean sweeping 3-0. After beating the Lankans in the first two matches in UAE, Pakistan outclassed them in the third match as well, played at Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore.
The match in Lahore was the first international game in Pakistan by a high-profile team since the attack on Sri Lankan team bus in 2009.
MISBAHUL HAQ BIDS FAREWELL TO TEST CRICKET
Captain of Pakistan’s Test team, Misbah-ul-Haq, retired from all forms of Cricket in 2017.
Under his captaincy Green shirts has won 24 Test matches with 14 defeats and 11 draws.
In 2016, Misbah also became the first Pakistani to play 50 matches as Test captain in a Test series against New Zealand.
YOUNIS KHAN BIDS FAREWELL TO TEST CRICKET
Younis Khan the legendary batsmen retired from Test cricket during the ongoing series against Windies in 2017.
The veteran cricket played 265 ODIs and scored 7249 with the help of seven tons and 48 50s. He grabbed three wickets in his 50-over career.
The former T20 captain has made 442 runs in 25 Twenty20 international matches and has taken three wickets as well.
In his test career, Khan played 118 matches and scored 10099 runs with 34 centuries and 33 half-centuries to his name. He has nine test wickets to his name as well.
SHAHID AFRIDI BIDS FAREWELL TO INTERNATIONAL CRICKET
Shahid Afridi finally bids farewell to international cricket, over 20 years after making his debut for Pakistan. Afridi said goodbye in fitting fashion during PSL 2.
The veteran cricket played 398 ODIs and scored 8064 runs with the help of five tons and 39 50s. He grabbed 395 wickets in his 50-over career.
The former T20 captain has made 1405 runs in 98 Twenty20 international matches and has taken 97 wickets as well.
In his test career, Afridi played 27 matches and scored 1716 runs with 5 centuries and eight half-centuries to his name. He has 48 test wickets to his name as well.
SAEED AJMAL RETIRES FROM ALL FORM OF CRICKET
In this year 2017 once a match-winner for Pakistan, Saeed Ajmal retired from all form of cricket at the end of the National Twenty20 tournament in Rawalpindi.
During a successful but controversial career, Ajmal was once celebrated as the world’s number one bowler in one-day internationals (ODIs) and Twenty20 cricket, and was almost as successful in Tests.
He notably captured 24 wickets in three Tests against England in 2012.
Ajmal took 178 wickets in 35 Tests, the last of which was at Galle in Sri Lanka in 2014, where his bowling action was reported for the second time. It was first reported during an ODI series against Australia in the UAE in 2009.
He finished with 184 wickets in 113 ODIs, and 85 in 64 Twenty20 Internationals.
However, it is still to be seen if the Pakistan Cricket Team can retain this momentum and can remain consistent in the upcoming tour to New Zealand, for a series comprising of five One-Day Internationals and three T20I matches in January 2018 – the next great challenge for Sarfaraz and his army.