2012 Review

A heart-warming resurgence

Pakistan had a satisfying 2012, but the year ahead is one of transition

Saad Shafqat

January 1, 2013

Comments: 54 | Text size: A | A

Saeed Ajmal picked up all the five Sri Lanka wickets that fell until lunch on the second day, Sri Lanka v Pakistan, 1st Test, Galle, 2nd day, June 23, 2012
Saeed Ajmal's exclusion from the ICC's Cricketer of the Year nominees upset a lot of fans © AFP
Related Links
Players/Officials: Misbah-ul-Haq | Raza Hasan | Saeed Ajmal
Teams: Pakistan

Pakistan cricket continued its redemptive path in 2012, notching up a spectacular Test triumph against England in the UAE, bagging the Asia Cup title in ODIs, and earning a creditable semi-final finish in the World Twenty20. Of equal if not greater significance: the team also managed to steer clear of the kind of controversies and scandals that bedevilled them between 2006 and 2010.

This is not to suggest that things are rosy. The wicketkeeping position remains unsettled, the batting top order continues to be brittle, and the team is unable to call on its two best seamers, who have been banned because of spot-fixing. Meanwhile ageing stars like Younis Khan, Shahid Afridi, Misbah-ul Haq, and Saeed Ajmal are approaching the twilight of their careers; their departure threatens to leave a vacuum, because younger faces have not fully consolidated themselves. In terms of governance, PCB chairman Zaka Ashraf has steadied the ship with a calm and commonsensical hand, but given Pakistan's security troubles, a cloud of stigma and uncertainty still hangs overhead.

Seen within the context of these limitations, Pakistan's journey of resurgence that began in the wake of the 2010 spot-fixing crisis continues to be impressive and heart-warming. They are ending the year ranked fourth in Tests. In fact, over the nearly two and a half years since the end of the ill-fated tour to England in 2010, Pakistan's Test win-loss ratio is the best in the world. If they are not ranked higher, it is at least partly because - with the exception of England - they have not played the toughest of opponents.

The situation is less encouraging in limited-overs, where Pakistan are currently ranked sixth in both formats. Still, there is the noteworthy performance in the World Twenty20, and while in ODIs Pakistan lost all three bilateral series (against England, Sri Lanka, and Australia), there is at least the Asia Cup, which was reclaimed after 12 years.

New kid on the block
When 20-year-old Raza Hasan was asked to open the bowling in Pakistan's crucial contest against South Africa during the World Twenty20, he delivered three dot-balls to Hashim Amla, and even induced an edge that Kamran Akmal failed to hold. His second over, to Jacques Kallis, was a maiden, and it proved a chokehold from which South Africa never recovered. Four days later Hasan was asked to bowl the second over of Australia's innings in another do-or-die match for Pakistan. He found himself facing Shane Watson, who was on a firm trajectory to become Man of the Tournament. Hasan began with four dot-balls, and delivered a wicket-taking ball in his second over that trapped Watson in front. His eventual tally of 2 for 14 from four overs fetched him the Player-of-the-Match award.

Hasan possesses length, direction, turn, and temperament. Anticipated as being a potent weapon on the tour to India, he was sadly sidelined by injury. He has yet to play any ODIs or Tests (his T20I debut was in September this year, during Pakistan's series against Australia in the UAE), yet one can already see in him the makings of a future Pakistan star.

High point
Clean-sweeping England 3-0 in a Test series surpasses all of Pakistan's previous Test accomplishments. That the victories came on neutral turf and against what was then the world's top-ranked outfit made it all the more special. Prior to this feat, Pakistan's pantheon of Test achievements away had been limited to individual match wins, such as The Oval 1954, Sydney 1977 or Georgetown 1988. Even the inaugural series triumphs in India and England in 1987 were each based on a solitary Test win. The crushing demolition of a powerful and professional England side in 2012 represents a new level of Test success for Pakistan.

As with any seminal triumph, a number of potent and synchronised factors contributed towards it. The captain, Misbah, and the coach, Mohsin Khan, enjoyed an efficient mutual chemistry that motivated everybody to perform according to plan; the batting came good at crucial moments; and England might also have underestimated Pakistan's skill and resolve. The most crucial difference between the two sides was the lethal quality of Pakistan's spin combination of Ajmal and Abdur Rehman, who between them picked up 43 wickets at an astonishing average of 15.60 and a punishing strike rate of 38.88.

In the build-up to the series, Ajmal had threatened to unveil a teesra or third kind of weapon, in addition to his doosra and the stock offbreak. No one is quite sure whether he did or didn't, but the DRS - which overturned some critical lbws initially deemed not out - emerged a strong contender for this role. It played havoc with England's batting mindset and destroyed their footwork as the series progressed.

Low point
In addition to the three ODI series defeats, there was also a Test series loss in Sri Lanka, and a number of defeats in T20s that Pakistan had been favoured to win. The year's most stinging disappointment, though, came off the field, in the form of Ajmal's exclusion from the shortlist for ICC's Cricketer of the Year, an award that recognises achievement across all international formats. The only bowler in the final list of four was South Africa's Vernon Philander, and Ajmal had taken more than twice as many international wickets as him. The oversight is glaring enough to call into question the procedures of the ICC, which relies on a private ballot by a 32-member voting academy for picking the names. Ajmal shrugged off the snub, but it has been an acrid pill for the fans and won't be soon forgotten.

Raza Hasan bagged the key wicket of Shane Watson for 8, Australia v Pakistan, Super Eights, World Twenty20 2012, Colombo, October 2, 2012
A bright future awaits left-arm spinner Raza Hasan © Getty Images

What 2013 holds
The coming year can be expected to be one of transition for Pakistan. As a few old hands edge towards retirement, young blood will be expected to step up. There is impressive reserve strength in seam and spin bowling, but batting remains a worry. At the top of the order, Pakistan are still struggling to find openers of world-class quality. In the middle order, despite some exciting performances from Azhar Ali, Asad Shafiq, Umar Akmal and Nasir Jamshed, there is still uncertainty whether the newcomers can adequately fill the shoes of Younis Khan, Inzamam-ul-Haq and Mohammad Yousuf. Although the captaincy is unlikely to change hands, provided Misbah and Mohammad Hafeez can retain their places in the side, replacing either will be a headache because there are no obvious and risk-free candidates.

There is no dearth of challenges ahead. Pakistan's international commitments will be almost doubled from 2012, with away series in South Africa, Zimbabwe and West Indies, followed later in the year by home encounters against South Africa and Sri Lanka, with perhaps a Test rubber with India - a long shot at the moment, but you never know - to be slotted somewhere in between. In the middle of the year there is also the Champion's Trophy in England. If the current limited-overs series in India is any indication, Pakistan appear hungry and motivated for success heading into the New Year, and this bodes well for the immediate term.

The larger question of where Pakistan cricket is headed is much harder to answer. General elections are due in early 2013, and there is still no end in sight to the home-grown cancer of militancy and terrorism. The PCB keeps making noises about a commercial T20 league with foreign players, and is also valiantly trying to organise a full-scale tour by Bangladesh. Even if either of these materialises, it will do little to improve Pakistan's security perception, and it is virtually guaranteed that the tours by South Africa and Sri Lanka scheduled later in the year will be relocated to the UAE. The brief for the fans is to stay positive and keep up hope. For the foreseeable future, there is no option but to remain mindful of the bigger picture and to take things one day at a time.

Saad Shafqat is a writer based in Karachi

RSS Feeds: Saad Shafqat

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by RaadQ on (January 4, 2013, 14:14 GMT)

Pak has the talent to continue its Test success and improve its limited overs performance. Firstly, Misbah and Younis need to retire from ODI and focus on Test matches for the duration of their careers. Shafiq and Umar Akmal take over their positions in ODI. Hafeez should lead T20 and ODI squads until the next WC. Tanvir, Cheema and Sami should be barred from playing any format, instead Anwar Ali, Tabish Khan and other prospects should be given chances, whoever takes the chances should be promoted to test matches. Hammad Azam and Raza Hassan should also be provided opportunities. Misbah to lead the test side until Azhar Ali and Asad Shafiq are more soild. Hafeez should be demoted down the order in Test matches. Umar Akmal/Nasir Jamshed should naturally replace Younis and Misbah in test matches in the long run, since Asad/Azhar are slower, more solid temperamental players so there will be a balance.

Posted by   on (January 3, 2013, 0:35 GMT)

Well, This year is went good because of performance in year 2011 when Pakistan Team was in recovery and all credits goes to Misbah who led the at that stage when Pakistan cricket was going down but he kept well and put it up. Furthermore, he is real leader who took Pakistan Cricket to the right Track.

Posted by   on (January 2, 2013, 22:19 GMT)

LillianThomson, Junaid Khan is 6ft 1. Is that really too short for a test fast bowler? You must be joking! That is taller than Waqar Younis and Malcolm Marshall.

Posted by Syed_imran_abbas on (January 2, 2013, 21:28 GMT)

Very well said by "Ab Rar". Huge credit to Misbah. what an honest and dedicated leader. His leadership in especially test matches has been outstanding. I think Mohsin hassan khan was very good selector. Even under BUTT he was doing very good job. I hope Hafeez learns some skills from misbah.

Posted by UK_Chap on (January 2, 2013, 18:59 GMT)

CricIndia208 : You are correct in stating the India have had the run of the luck against Pakistan in one off games in ICC tournaments, but in proper series Pakistan has a very good record against India. You can check the records on Cricinfo Stats.

Posted by UK_Chap on (January 2, 2013, 18:55 GMT)

LillianThomson : why do you imbue such bile towards Pakistan, your comments reek of sour grapes. There should be no excuses from any side. Pakistan beat England fair and square. The Pakistan spinners out-gunned their English counterparts. Pakistan have some good new bowlers coming through and you can bet your money that on their next tour of England, they will roll England over. They have done it many times in the past ....... you can check the records. It seems you may a have a very selective memory of series and events.

Posted by   on (January 2, 2013, 16:57 GMT)

No doubt that Pakistan has a good season of cricket in 2012 as far as tests are compared .. but their ODI form hasn't been consistent .. Despite of winning ASIA CUP title, they have lost three series including one white wash .. I think credit must be given to Misbah ul haq . The way he had led the boys was awesome . He has gelled the team as a unit specially when the team was shattered after spot fixing scandal. I agree that it'l be a transition period for Pakistan in 2013 .. Plenty of players are above 30s and we need to find out some new blood .. We have some good youngsters like Nasir Jamshed, Ahmed Shezad, hamma azam, azhar ali and asad shafiq, raza hassan and zulfiqar babar . But I think we should look forwad to make our fast bowling strong ...

Posted by satti722 on (January 2, 2013, 15:12 GMT)

good job done green shirts , keep on performing like this and no doubt you will be at the top, future seems talented nice provided handled well by management , Umar Akmal, Azhar Ali, Asad Shafiq in batting , Junaid Khan , M Irfan , Saeed Ajmal n co in bowling will make Pakistan to proceed to no one slot in future , but it will req hard work and they needs to be disciplined and professional cricketers, remember we have been denied cricket at home even then such results are realy amazing.

Posted by   on (January 2, 2013, 15:06 GMT)

I really appreciate the writer for a wonderful synopsis of Pakistan's cricket. However, the only thig missing in the excellent article was the mention of tremendous improvement in Pakistani fielding, courtesy Mr. Julien Fountain.

Posted by Solid_Snake on (January 2, 2013, 13:57 GMT)

Just imagine if Eng loses Andreson & Broad.. South Africa Steyn & Philander Imagine what would you do if you lose your 2 main bowlers.. Pak team was great in 2012 despite of all the previous scandals.. I hope they perform well in upcoming SA tour..

Posted by brightway5 on (January 2, 2013, 12:25 GMT)

Although it was satisfying year but still we need to make some adjustments specially to the one day squad if we want to sit on higer ranking. In one day team we can efford only one of Younis Khan, Azhar Ali or Misbah ul Haq. I think Younis takes the priority over the other two. Hafeez should be made captain of the ODIs as well and batting should be strengthened with some fluent players like Umar Amin, Haris Sohail, Asad Shafique and Ahmad Shahzad. Umar Akmal should be a permanant member of the limited overs teams. There is no problem with our bowling the bowlers will keep coming.

Posted by KiwiRocker- on (January 2, 2013, 9:12 GMT)

As a Pakistani origin person (even though without being born there), I was ashamed and embarrassed by act of Amir, Salman and Asif. I felt it very personal and it ruined name of my country of origin. At the same time, I feared that Pakistan will become a minnow cricket team. Pakistan had no home to play, Pakistan had no strike bowlers to play, but resilliance of Pakistani players and unconditional support of Pakistani fans now makes me proud! If 2012 is any indication, I can see bright horizon for Pakistani cricket. There is a depth of fast and spin bowling. There are quality batsmen even though inexperienced! Raza Hassan, Hammad Azam, Khurram Manzoor, Asad Shafiq, Azeem Ghumman, Ehsan Adil and Sami Aslam are to nae a few. 2013 will be big for Pak cricket and fans and I hope great Imran Khan emerges as a leader to lead Pakistan as a nation and as a cricket team! If 2012 was filled with anxiety and fear of unknown, 2013 is filled with optimism, confidence and self belief!

Posted by   on (January 2, 2013, 7:50 GMT)

Overall a satisfying 2012 and no serious challenges in the 2013 as well apart from uncertain future of Mr. Ashraf as a chairman after general elections. SA tour in Feb-Mar would be the toughest of tasks for Pak team. An area of concern though is lack of quality all rounders and finishers in limited overs, Afridi/Malik should be played on rotation basis and young all rounders should be included.

Posted by   on (January 2, 2013, 5:59 GMT)

@CricIndia208: just remember that Pakistan is not playing any International cricket in home ground for the last couple of years, despite of that we are 4th in test ranking played semi's of WC's 50 overs and T20 consistently, beating top teams in there own backyard yes it is satisfying indeed, we have a better track record against India in Test and ODI's, I can bet you if foreign teams top visiting India, it will take not much time for Team India to become minor as you are tigers at home and sheep abroad… cherish the tag of tigers at home……

Posted by Addy_Hawk on (January 2, 2013, 3:30 GMT)

I suppose '92 England (2-1) and '96 England (2-0) don't count?

Posted by   on (January 2, 2013, 1:30 GMT)

@CricIndia208 on (January 01 2013, 16:59 PM GMT)

Dear co-Indian fans. Don't talk too early. In the current T-20 'series', the two teams are tied. And, in ODIs, wait for the results. Pakistan are already, deservingly one-up, despite Dhoni's heroics, assisted by two of his CSK mates. (A wag said; India caved in; CSK fought)

Posted by applethief on (January 2, 2013, 0:08 GMT)

@LillianThomson @getsetgopk I agree, I don't hold any blame for Pakistan for the SL series, it was completely overrun by the awful umpiring that favoured Sri Lanka. And I take my hat off to any team that can come back in a test series that includes a game at the featherbed that is the SSC, although Junaid gave them a good fright. The ODI team needs work, they've lost the rhythm of the format. The rest of @LillianThomson's comments are just sour grapes

Posted by KiwiRocker- on (January 1, 2013, 23:22 GMT)

Pakistan indeed had one of the best 2012 among all cricket playing nations. Pakistani fans started year 2012 with a fear of unknown. Pakistan had lost its two premium strike bowlers. There was uncertainity about Pakistan's captaincy, wicketkeeping and no cricket in Pakistan.Pakistan ends the year with a very assured new chairman. A successful tour of a World XI to Pakistan.A white wash of England.A successful T20 compaign. A massive win in Asia cup.Pakistan has Khurram Manzoor a fine opener waiting for a while. Future is bright for Pakistan as Pakistan has best spin bowling attack in world, an equally good fast bowling attack and increasingly assured batting line up.For me high point was white wash of England and end of year wins against India in their own backyard. The lowest point was actually not winning T20 world cup.Pak should have won it as Pak had all the right ingridients to win! Year 2012 ends with a smile and satisfaction and Year 2013 starts with a hope & confidence-Congrats

Posted by   on (January 1, 2013, 20:07 GMT)

This shows character and strength of Pakistanis as a nation and I am really proud to be a part of it as legendary boxer M. Ali said "Champion is the one who knocks out opponent when he himself is about to fall in the ring." and Pakistan has done the same because no other team has been hit by so much controversies/tragedies than Pakistan. Hats off to all the boys and I am sure that they can do much more than this.

Posted by TaylorSwift on (January 1, 2013, 20:00 GMT)

The ODI side also needs some work in 2013. Misbah should give up this format and Hafeez should take over the captaincy. The Professor has been impressive in the leadership role in T20s. Building towards the 2015 WC, Afridi, Malik, Farhat, Younis, Razzaq, Gul and Sohail Tanvir should all be permanently phased out of the ODI side in 2013. Ahmed Shehzad, Nasir Jamshed, Azhar Ali, Asad Shafiq, Umar Akmal, Haris Sohail, Fawad Alam, Babar Azam, Naved Yasin, Kamran Akmal, Hammad Azam, Anwar Ali, Saeed Ajmal, Raza Hasan, Junaid Khan, Mo Irfan, Wahab Riaz, Sadaf Hussian and Ehsan Adil should be the key elements of the squad in 2013.

Posted by TaylorSwift on (January 1, 2013, 19:38 GMT)

While the 3-0 win against England in Tests was the highlight of 2012, Pakistan still has a long way to go if they want to be contenders in all 3 formats. The SA tour will be the biggest challenge in 2013 and a Test win or two will definitely confirm Pakistan's status as an emerging Test side. My suggestions for the Test side in 2013: Misbah should continue to lead the side in 2013 and Hafeez, Younis, Azhar and Shafiq should be first-choice batsmen in the side. However, a replacement for Taufeeq Umar is required. Also, Haris Sohail, Fawad Alam and Usman Salahuddin should all be considered for the Test side at some point in 2013. The keeper issue also needs to be resolved. Ajmal should continue to be the first-choice spinner, while Rehman and Raza Hasan should serve as the primary reserves. Junaid, Mo Irfan (concerned about his fitness at Test level), Wahab Riaz, Sadaf Hussian and Ehsan Adil should be the primary fast-bowling options. Umar Gul is not Test material any longer.

Posted by   on (January 1, 2013, 18:54 GMT)

Bowling department is setteld now. Batting needs a bit more time nd after sorting batting order, borad will have some breathing space to fill places left by alrounders. You just cannot do everything at once. You must settel one department then move to other. Now its time to induct couple of good alrounders nd job done for next 3/4 years.

Posted by khankijaan on (January 1, 2013, 17:45 GMT)

@CricIndia208: yes PAk has lost a t20 game in WC and a game is asia cup last year (2011)..but if u remember PAk have beaten indian in their own backyard just couple of days ago and also beaten them in a t20 game few days ago,,,wont that be satisfying enough ???come on grow up now,,,cherish sports and sports persons..

Posted by Extraz on (January 1, 2013, 17:27 GMT)

@cricIndia208...we lost to india in Asia cup and we won the asia cup while india lost to BANGLADESH in the same asia cup,we lost to india in worldt20 and reach the semi finals of it while india did not make it to the semis,we whitewashed ENGLAND the no:1 test team at that time while india got whitewashed by them...yeah mate satisfying year indeed for us!

Posted by CricIndia208 on (January 1, 2013, 16:59 GMT)

Pakistan lost to India in the Asia cup match and lost to India again in the World T20, nth loss to India in world cup games. Satisfying year indeed!

Posted by Desihungama on (January 1, 2013, 16:07 GMT)

Saad - I feel playing away from home actually served as blessings in disguise for Pakistan. They have played all over recently getting accimilated with different conditions and are in better position than most team to cope with changing conditions. This is also evident in our bowling attack which is ranked top if not the best. Yes, the average Pakistan fan may be devoid of live cricket but then we were never the spectators who took pleasure in long version of the game. Our stadiums are pretty much empty whenever a Test match is played. I also hope PCB keeps Mohd. Amir in their future planning and continue to work with the guy to keep him fit and involved. Can't wait for his return as he and Junaid can be really formidable. Best of luck 2013.

Posted by Faisal.Hassan on (January 1, 2013, 15:28 GMT)

The article is very good but as you say that ODIs and T20 formats matches are not impressive, I totally disagree. When a country has not been playing a single match in its country for a long time, we should expect these kinds of performances. If we look other teams performances, they improve their rankings when they play at homes. As Sri lanka best at home but not impressive on netural places.

Posted by 4_Best_Cricket on (January 1, 2013, 14:25 GMT)

Pakistan cricket future is very bright. PCB continues adding new unique talent and we have recently witnessed a significant improvement in Pakistan batting and fielding. The emergence of Azhar Ali, Nasir Jamshed, Raza Hassan, Asad Shafiq, Mohammad Irfan, Junaid Jamshed is a very healthy sign for Pakistan cricket because those players are very capable of playing any format of the cricket. The 2013 year for cricket looks very competitive as Pakistan will clash with India, South Africa, and West Indies on their soil. Sit back and enjoy the fun!

Posted by   on (January 1, 2013, 14:18 GMT)

This Article sounds really old, Pakistan have a settled top order, with Jamshed and Hafeez, middle order is strengthen by the improved form of Malik, and with ever improving youngsters like Azhar Ali, Asad Shafiq, Umer Akmal, you will have to say future looks good, and players like Umer Amin, Hammad Azam, Azam Ghumman and more waiting for a call up, looks promising. Kamran Akmal has improved his keeping significantly, the seam department looks really good with Junaid Khan and Irfan being inroduced, and Anwar Ali, Mohammad Talha, Asad Ali still waiting their turns. Anyway I dont see Ajmal and Misbah retiring anything before the 2015 world cup

Posted by getsetgopk on (January 1, 2013, 14:13 GMT)

LillianThomson: I dont agree that Junaid Khan is short of a test fast bowler. No sir that is not quite so, he tested SL batsmen in a test match with his seam movement and consistantly landing the ball in the right areas. Sanga was the only batsman who played Ajmal and other bowerls with some authority but it didn't include Junaid. He troubeled everyone and that late afternoon spell was a breath of fresh air if you ask me. And the way he just rammed through IND the other day was nothing short of genious. We all know how bad the Indians are at moving ball but they are still batsmen and you have to pitch it in right areas and also need to have the skill to move it both ways to creat that doubt in batsmans mind which makes the normal inswinger to right handers even more deadly. But your spot on in saying Pak needs to be in SA in advance to make a real fist of it.

Posted by Syed_imran_abbas on (January 1, 2013, 13:19 GMT)

Pakistan has settled well.. We have some exciting guys to go ahead. In fast bowling we have junaid khan, Muhammad Irfan, Ehsan Adil and Anwar ali (he can bat as well).. in spin we have raza hassan, hafeez, ajmal, rehman.. and trust my worlds we never had better batting options than today, we have.. Nasir Jmashed, Asad Shafeeq, Azhar Ali, Umar Akmal, Haris Sohail.. Even Ahmad Shahzad is not too bad.. but some pakistan has to find replacement of Abdul razzaq and Good wicket keeper batsman. Gul has been so dissappointing over the years. he could not learn anything after so many years of internationl cricket. he never became a attack leader and i think its time to move on and get those above mentioned fast bowlers to take us to future.. we lose in ODI's and t20,s because of wrong team selection.. like palying sohail tanvir when junaid is in squad and like playing azhar ali in odi's when umer akmal and haris sohail are in side.

Posted by Shazli on (January 1, 2013, 13:08 GMT)

Best of Luck Pakistan Team for 2013....... Inshallah Pakistan will win through out 2013........

Posted by getsetgopk on (January 1, 2013, 13:03 GMT)

LillianThomson: (with all due respect!) You keep mentioning the test series loss to SL, you obviously haven't watched that seires other wise you wont be making this comment. The only match Pak lost on that tour was a match riddeled with 17 howlers in it, 12 of those were against Pak, if im not mistaken Younus Khan was wrongly given out 4 out of 6 times. On the surface it did look SL played well but we'll never know as the umpires killed any chance of a fightback or a comeback that Pak could have launched. The umpires were Steve Davis and Ian Gould and there was no DRS in that series as SL couldn't afford it. DRS for the tour before that by Eng in SL was covered by ECB though it was SL's home series but Pak couldn't afford it and we had a mess of a test series. The worst test series I have ever witnessed and dont blame Pak one bit for that loss.

Posted by Stark62 on (January 1, 2013, 12:36 GMT)

I think Pak can be the no. 1 side in Tests and T20's but I'm not sure about ODI's with the current team.

I hope Misbah keeps playing Tests and remains the Test captain until he is 50 yrs of age but his definitely not good enough for ODI's. Just look where Pak are currently, after the retirement of Misbah from T20's.

Also, need to get rid of Younis (only performs against Ind), Malik (just T20's), Farhat, Azhar, Irfan (only for T20's), Riaz and possibly Gul, from the ODI team.

Bring in Shezhad, Alam (ODI's and Tests), Yasin, Salahuddin (Tests only), Sadaf, Ehsan, Nayyer Abbas, Junaid Nadir and maybe Zia-Ul-Haq.

Posted by Akhter786 on (January 1, 2013, 12:34 GMT)

Opening in Tests is going to be a hard test for pak players, they donot play well at all against swing and african bowlers are vicious and venomous, this will be the acid test not only for Hafeez and Jamsheed and Azhar but also for bowlers against formidable and highest ranking batsmen of the calibre of Kallis and Amla.

this will surely be a make-or-break series for many youngsters. Junaid, Wahab riaz and Umar Gul will hold the fast bowling beacon as i don't think Irfan-The Giraffe to be that of an impact player and success prospect due his fittness vows, He will be and wont be there, in and out

Posted by   on (January 1, 2013, 12:24 GMT)

Article Worth reading again :)

Posted by   on (January 1, 2013, 11:55 GMT)

fantastic blog sir.... 2013 will be the best year in Pakistan cricket history inshallah. There's south africa tour ahead and champions trophy in England too but before all india vs pakistan ODI series is still on the line. Best of luck Team Pakistan.

Posted by LillianThomson on (January 1, 2013, 11:25 GMT)

It's not okay to be triumphal about beating England when Pakistan then proceeded to lose their next Test series by turning up too late to prepare.

And there are dilemmas to be resolved in the Test side. Taufeeq looks finished, but Nasir Jamshed looks awful against the new ball outside off-stump in ODIs, and could be a walking wicket in South Africa. I suspect that they should open with Azhar Ali to create a space for Umar Akmal, who at least is technically capable on lively tracks.

The Akmal conundrum remains. They aren't going to beat any decent bowling side if they play Adnan Akmal at number seven, so I think Dav Whatmore has no choice but to push for Kamran Akmal to be restored to the Test slot.

And Junaid remains short for a Test fast bowler, so his success in South Africa is uncertain. And at the other end of the scale, Irfan is tall enough for his bounce to be a very useful Test weapon, but can he bowl 20 overs in a day on 3 days out of 5 in a Test match? I doubt it.

Posted by   on (January 1, 2013, 10:31 GMT)

Good Arcticle. May Allah bless Pakistan cricket team Inshallah in 2013 and the years to come!

Posted by khurramsch on (January 1, 2013, 10:26 GMT)

over all very satisfactory year. they played only 6 tests won 3 lost 1 to SL. so very good performance. in Odis, England series was a disapointment, no fight shown & was unexpected loss. Sl Odi was more competitive ones and Aus series was also ok. need to improve in ODIs though. t20 is always 50-50 format. and they were pretty ok in it. losing to india, drawn with india, SL, wining from AUS, & semi final in t20 was ok.

Posted by DaDaL0G on (January 1, 2013, 9:53 GMT)

i was frustrated by our fast bowling panel Pak was unable to produce good fast bowlers like shoaib wasim and waqar but Junaid and Irfan showed somthing special i guess its time to find some good allrounders for the team

Posted by   on (January 1, 2013, 9:25 GMT)

Misbah should retire from ODI cricket and umar akmal should move on for that place. Hafeez should captain the team.

Posted by LillianThomson on (January 1, 2013, 8:52 GMT)

2012 was a year spoiled by a self-inflicted Test series defeat in Sri Lanka, caused by arriving too late and not acclimatising by playing a couple of First Class matches before the First Test, which should be standard practice.

2013 looks like starting the same way, with just one match scheduled in a rainy part of South Africa before the First Test, as the PCB thought it more important to stay at home to host Bangladesh.

The PCB needs an experienced cricketer to plan future tours, because Pakistan faces an endless cycle of defeats if it doesn't prepare.

And why hasn't the PCB sent Mohammad Amir around the world to educate young cricketers in return for a commuted sentence? I understand that the Court of Arbitration for Sport is likely to overturn Asif's sentence, with the ridiculous outcome that he could be eligible to play international cricket before Amir.

Posted by Akhter786 on (January 1, 2013, 8:34 GMT)

Pakistan had the fantastic year they played competitively, young talent is flooding in but that is how it always had been, it wont be easy to replace the likes of Younis and fading Afridi though Azhar Ali and Asad Shafeeq have impressed one and all as by Junaid and Jamsheed. All in All the best thing happening to Pak cricket besides the young talent is the emergence of Hafeez as A responsible cricketer and a good leader, he is undoubtedly one among many who is being watched keenly by the cricket fraternity and fans all around as a good leader which pakistan has been lacking for a long time now.

Future looks good, though the likes og Umar Akmal, A shehzad and co need to be tamed more eloquently, further the wicketkeeping prospectus still looks as ugly as(in Andy Zaltzman words) "mistimed Grame Smith Coverdrive"

Posted by   on (January 1, 2013, 8:15 GMT)

Consistency is never been associated to Pakistan cricket its the raw talent which wins them the matches in all formats. Talent is there so i believe Pakistan will do mix in up coming year. Best wishes for Pakistan :)

Posted by   on (January 1, 2013, 7:33 GMT)

Great Blog Sir..The year is gonna be a hard test fr Pakistan.If they go through with success specially against South Africa there will be no stopage and the Ranking will be much higher at the end of 2013. Senior players like Younis Khan,Misbah ul Haq & Saeed Ajmal can still serve for a year or 2. I want to wish Pakistan Team all the very best for the whole 2013. One thing in the end.We all are very proud of our Players...

Posted by Razag on (January 1, 2013, 7:31 GMT)

The future looks gud for pakistan coz alot of young guns are emerging they Just need to compete with consistency allah is with us no problem.. We bleed green

Posted by   on (January 1, 2013, 7:20 GMT)

A very optimistic article but based totally on reality ! Promising talent is coming through, but the commitment & consistency still remains a question.

But without a doubt, after the controversies of the last 2-4 years. This Pakistan outfit can easily be tagged as the Bravest, Most resilient team in World Cricket ! Hats Off !

Posted by Resultpredictor on (January 1, 2013, 7:04 GMT)

Pakistan had good 2012 year. The highlight for Pakistan in 2012 was emergence of new players. Asad Shafiq, Azhar Ali, Junaid Khan, Raza Hasan and Md Irfan are new talent to watch in 2013. The main challenge for Pakistan is the tour of South Africa. It will be the toughest tour for Pakistan after Misbah took the captaincy.

Posted by   on (January 1, 2013, 6:10 GMT)

Young Players like hasan, junaid, irfan, Umer Akmal, nasir, Azhar ali, umer amin and may more are future of Pakistani cricket. may Allah Bless Pakistan and cricket

Posted by   on (January 1, 2013, 5:51 GMT)

Sure, good year for pak cricket & performance of players.

Posted by   on (January 1, 2013, 5:26 GMT)

Saad: Very good article as usual. Here are a couple of ideas for your next articles... (1)The emergence of Pakistan after spot fixing. I think we have performed exceptionally under the circumstances. We have beaten a lot of top sides plus world cup performances (2) A question which should be explored - Why is Mohammad Amir banned for 5 yrs? Technically his punishment is the same as Butt's and Asif's. All 3 of them have to be out for a minimum of 5 yrs. His punishment was the harshest. Best Regards and keep up the good work.

Comments have now been closed for this article

Email Feedback Print
Saad ShafqatClose

News | Features Last 3 days
News | Features Last 3 days