Pakistan cricket team's head coach and selector Misbah-ul-Haq revealed that the current year had been a very tough one for Pakistan in the longer format of the game, as cricket slowly found its way back to Pakistan after a long gap of ten years. The return of international cricket to Pakistan came after a young Sri Lankan team decided to tour Pakistan after many senior players opted out citing security concerns. Apart from Pakistan's win against Sri Lanka in the Tests, they have had a forgetful year, especially with the longer format of the game while they managed to clutch on to the top spot in the T20 rankings but with lesser number of wins in this year.
Pakistan's miseries began as they were kicked out of the World after failing to make it to the top four, shortly after which then skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed was sacked and the responsibility was handed out to Azhar Ali and Babar Azam respectively for Tests and T20s. Shortly prior to that, then chief selector and coach Inzamam-ul-Haq also stepped down, paving wy for former Pakistan skipper Misbah to take over the reins.
Speaking to IANS, Misbah admitted that some of their crucial players such as Fakhar Zaman, Hasan Ali and Shadab Khan - who were responsible for the 2017 Champions Trophy triumph had lost touch and it impacted the side's chances in ODIs and in the T20s. Misbah said that even though Pakistan managed to latch on to the number one T20 ranking at the end of the calendar year, the win ratio had fallen and called for rapid improvement in both white-ball and red-ball formats of the game. Misbah hailed the emergence of Babar Azam as a top-class cricketer across all the formats for the country. The coach also heaped praises on youngster Naseem Shah and Shaheen Afridi and promised that the two would shine for Pakistan in the future.
Misbah said it would be a huge disappointment for the Pakistani players if Bangladesh didn't come in January. "I just think they are making a lame excuse to not come to Pakistan and if this happens it would be a huge injustice to Pakistan. Just when teams are starting to come here and play without any problems, Bangladesh is making lame excuses to avoid us in Tests," said Misbah.