Pakistan Cricket will look back at 2022 as an year of an ambiguous emotion. In limited over format the team did exceedingly well; they also reached to the finals of T20 World Cup, but in Test cricket the side witnessed a drastic slump.
As the year is about to end, Pakistan is trying to save another Test, this time against New Zealand. A familiar story for the Test team throughout the year where they played 9 Tests winning only one and losing five, three of them ended in draw, where the team was on the brink.
Their batting has floundered amid testing conditions and bowling which has been the main component of team’s success in past have struggled painfully in past. The team, rather noticeably, scaled some of the unwanted lows in the longest format. They lost two home series, against Australia by 1-0 and against England by 3-0.
Against England, for the first time in their Test history they were clean swept by 3-0 at home; the team not only lost every single Test but it looked the part of a unit that just didn’t seem to turn up against Ben Stokes’ side. While England was looking to win all the time, Pakistan were always at the defence trying to save the game.
While Pakistan don’t have any extraordinary bowlers, they still have some world class talents that can win matches. The problem has been the kind of pitches on offer, these pitches have been highly unresponsive.
In all the 7 Tests at home one witnessed high scoring played on flat tracks which offered little to the bowlers. Beyond it the inability to perform consistently by players apart from Babar Azam meant the team was always playing the catch-up game.
In limited over the cricket story was completely different; Pakistan has bagged eight wins and one loss in nine matches they played against Australia, Netherlands and the West Indies.
Though having said it all, T20 Cricket seemed to be their forte, the format they enjoy, apart from being the #1 team from past some years; they have been consistently good in the shortest version of cricket.
Pakistan in 2022 again displayed a dominant record in white-ball cricket’s briefest format. They had a 14-12 record but most importantly they reached to the finals of the T20 World Cup.
In 2021 they were left heartbroken by Matthew Wade’s special knock but this time after starting horribly (losing to India and Zimbabwe) they fought back to reach to the finals setting up a date with another summit clash at MCG with England. This time the script was different than the previous one (1992 World Cup Final) as England didn’t gave them an inch to clinch their second T20I World Cup.
Surprisingly England seemed to some kind of mental edge against them throughout the year. They won the T20I series in Pakistan by 4-3, won the final and then blanked Pakistan in Test series on their home soil by 3-0.
In terms of batting, Babar scored 1170 runs in just 9 Tests (before final innings in first Test against New Zealand) the next best batsman was Abdullah Shafique who scored 823 runs in 9 Tests at 51.43. In bowling new comer Abrar Ahmed was top wicket taker with 22 wickets in just 3 Tests.
Babar and Imam topped in 50 over Cricket whereas Rizwan and Babar ended up on top of the batting charts in T20I Cricket. Harris Rauf had the highest wicket in both T20I and ODI Cricket as well. A reason why he is termed as one of the best bowlers in limited over cricket.
What lies ahead in 2023? Their ambitions to reach to the finals of WTC (2021-2023) have almost ended but they will aim to start the 2023-2025 cycles on positive note as they will be taking on Sri Lanka and Australia in Test series.
Pakistan in 2022 were a dominant force in white-ball cricket. But what lays ahead for 2023?
In limited overs cricket, their focus, or so one thinks, will be to identify their best eleven for the World Cup in India in October-November 2023.
They will be playing lot of ODI cricket in 2023 including series against New Zealand, Afghanistan and Asia Cup.
Pakistani Fans hope their team will find much vaunted consistency in 2023 which have eluded them in the recent times.