Chief selector Misbah-ul-Haq has said that Pakistan, this year, faced troubling times, in terms of Test cricket, however, he maintained the notion that the team was “on the right track”.
“Pakistan ended 2019 on a high note with victory against Sri Lanka, but, overall, it was a tough year for Pakistan in Test cricket,” Misbah said.
Speaking about T20I cricket, the head coach expressed mixed emotions and said that the team’s performance did not meet expectations despite maintaining the top rank in the format.
The reason, Misbah cited was declining performances by players, namely batsman Fakhar Zaman, Hasan Ali and Shadab Khan, which saw the win ratio drop in the format.
“In white-ball cricket our mainstays like Fakhar [Zaman], Hasan [Ali] and Shadab [Khan], lost form at a crucial time which saw us suffer in the World Cup and T20I format, though, we managed to stay number one in the format throughout the year, our win ratio in T20I cricket has fallen,” he said.
He continued, “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.”
He, however, hailed T20I captain Babar Azam for retaining his top spot in T20I as well as ranking third place in terms of batting in ODI cricket.
“The emergence of Babar [Azam] across all formats is very good news. 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,” Misbah said.
In addition, Misbah praised teen pacers Naseem Shah and Shaheen Afridi and expressed that the duo hold a promising future. He also highlighted the performances by batsman Mohammad Rizwan and bowler Iftikhar Ahmed.
“Some of the new bowlers like Naseem [Shah] and Shaheen [Afridi] have arrived at the scene and they have been impressive in Test cricket,” he said. “We will hopefully bank on these two promising fast-bowlers in the future.”
“[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.”
The head coach held an optimistic view for the future and emphasised on the utilising fresh talent in the upcoming year.
“We need to do a lot of work in white-ball cricket ahead of the all-important T20 World Cup next year. We can go a long way with a few more additions in the side and the present players maturing.”
“Going further we have to improve a lot of things in both red-ball and white-ball cricket. This team has enough potential and new boys are also making their way in international cricket. There’s certainly a bright future ahead for us,” he added.