After a below-par performance at the ongoing World Cup, the Pakistan team returned home after failing to qualify to the semi-finals as they could not achieve the nearly impossible task of beating Bangladesh by such the huge margin that was required to topple New Zealand from the fourth spot on the tournament table.
The side started off their campaign on a miserable note which extended to the first five matches of the group stage. Beginning with the 105-run all out to West Indies followed by humiliating defeats in the hands of arch-rivals India and Australia, Pakistan managed to revive their campaign in the latter half of the group stage, but it turned out to be a little too late.
The defeat in the hands of the Windies was the main reason why Pakistan couldn't qualify for the semi-finals as their net run-rate saw a negative figure since their first match. Their miseries were coupled when they lost to India in a humiliating fashion, shaking the foundations of the team. Skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed addressed the media after the team's return to Pakistan.
"The next seven days after the defeat to India were very tough for the team. After the match, we took a two-day break and then I called a meeting with all 15 players, without the management. I discussed everything I had observed during the first five matches, all that we were doing wrong, and all the players responded well and gave their feedback.
Sarfaraz Ahmed rubbished speculations of disagreements between him and coach Mickey Arthur and chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq. The skipper was severely criticized following the side's loss to India, with many former players accusing Sarfaraz of lack of intent and attitude. The team recovered quickly and went on to win the remainder of the four matches in the group stage.
"The team then performed very well in the remaining four matches. All players, juniors as well as seniors, played their part and I am happy with them as a captain," said Safaraz, also praising the coach and the management for tackling the players after the defeat to India.
Speculations about an alleged rift between Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur, chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq and the skipper made rounds after Pakistan's loss to India. The skipper said that he had the full support of the coach and the management.
Pakistan recuperated after the first five games of the group stage and went on to win the last four games of the group stage. A poor net run-rate from the start of the tournament hampered their chances of proceeding to the semi-finals as the ended their tournament with a consolatory win over Bangladesh although being unable to beat them by a huge margin. The team ended their World Cup campaign with 11 points from five victories, finishing on the fifth spot on the tournament table.
The skipper credited the team, coaching staff and the management for aiding the side to make a comeback and finish the campaign on a winning note.
Coach Mickey Arthur praised the efforts of the captain for his ability to face the harsh criticisms and for turning around the campaign for Pakistan after their loss to India on 16 July.
"I must say that I'd just like to credit the captain, Sarfaraz. What he was exposed to after the Indian game was atrocious as a Pakistan cricket captain, as any captain of any cricket team," he said. "The way he held his composure, the way he led from the front, the way his work ethic never, ever changed. I think he's been an inspiration to that dressing room, and I think Sarfaraz deserves a lot of credit for this", he added.