LAHORE: Pakistan remained seventh in Tests, moved to fifth position in ODIs, maintained its No.1 T20I ranking and captain Sarfraz Ahmad and coach Mickey Arthur expressed satisfaction on teams performance as the year 2018 came to an end.
Yasir and Babar created world records, Fakhar became the first Pakistan batsman to score a double-century in ODIs Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed and coach Mickey Arthur have reflected on 2018 with satisfaction but hope for better results in the coming year.
“It has been a long year in which there have been some exceptional and some ordinary performances. Overall, I think we have done well, but I accept we could have had better results had we shown a little more consistency,” said Sarfraz on Monday,a day ahead of dawn of new year.
Arthur concurred, when he remarked:”The Lord’s victory over England, a 1-0 series win over Australia and world record 17 T20I victories were obviously the highlights of the year.
But we could have also won the series against New Zealand and the Centurion Test, and it hurts to end up on the losing side.
“This is a side in transition and has shown considerable improvement in the past 12 months. I am convinced that the best from this outstanding young group of players is yet to come”, he asserted.
In 2018, Pakistan played nine Tests, winning four and losing four, while they won eight of the 18 ODIs, with the series decider against New Zealand being washed-out after they had set the Kiwis a 280-run victory target.
In the shortest format, Pakistan won a world record 17 out of 19 matches, including victories in the Zimbabwe tri-series and series wins over Australia and the New Zealand both at the Black Caps home and the UAE.
In the ICC rankings, Pakistan remained in seventh position in the Test table but gained four points to rise to 92 points, while they moved up one place to fifth in the ODI rankings.
In the T20I table, Pakistan seized the top spot from New Zealand and finished in number one position on 138 points after collecting 14 points during the year.
“This was the first calendar year in which Pakistan was playing without stalwarts like Younus Khan and Misbah-ul-Haq in the Test match format”, said Sarfraz.
“They have been an integral part of the dressing room for many years and without their presence, it was sort of a strange feeling. I know many players have missed them and we as a team have certainly missed their experience and knowledge”, he said.
“It’s neither easy to replace such talent nor does it happen overnight. We have to go through the process and I think the middle-order has done a good job against tough oppositions and in not very easy conditions. This has been a massive learning year for our middle-order and I am sure they’ll learn from their mistakes and get better in matches to come”, said the Pakistan captain.
Arthur praised the efforts of the entire team, saying: “I say with a lot of satisfaction that the boys have worked extremely hard. It has been a backbreaking year of cricket for the boys, but they have tried to make optimum use of the opportunities and given their best every time they stepped onto the field.”
“The area which has pleased me the most has been the side’s fielding, which has also been noticed and appreciated by the pundits and experts. We have taken some excellent catches and inflicted stunning run-outs, apart from saving many runs. This is a testament of the players’ commitment and hard work, as fielding is very much an individual thing and one has to push oneself to excel in this department”,said the coach.
“Of course, mistakes have been made and those have cost us badly, but that doesn’t take away the fact that the boys have tried their best and worked hard. They have shown the world that they have the talent and grit, and now it’s time they start translating that flair into positive results”, he added.
“There have been good days and not so good days, but we have stayed together as a group and have aimed to continue to work harder and better. I am confident that good results are waiting for us down the road”, maintained Mickey Arthur.