Despite several positive advancements, the year 2019 still proved to be a terrible one for Pakistan cricket.
From poor performances abroad and on home soil to shocking management decisions of appointing Misbah-ul-Haq in a dual role and so forth.
Here is a compilation of all the things that went wrong for Pakistan during 2019:
1. Sticking with Mickey Arthur
After a disappointing campaign in the World Cup 2019, Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) decided not to renew Mickey Arthur’s contract. This decision was perhaps delayed because leading up to the World Cup, Pakistan’s preparations were rather abysmal. Mickey, who publicly criticized Wahan Riaz for not being a match winner, ultimately agreed to taking the left-arm fast bowler to the World Cup because of poor planning.
Strange decisions such as these cost Pakistan heavily throughout the year, which is why many agreed that Arthur should have been let go a lot earlier.
2. Misbah’s Questionable Roles
After PCB decided not to renew Mickey’s contract, Misbah was appointed as the Head Coach of the cricket team. In addition to that, Misbah was also made the head of selection committee. This decision prompted a reaction from the cricketing community who were displeased because of Misbah’s managerial inexperience.
The controversy did not end there as it was revealed that Misbah is also acting as Pakistan’s unofficial batting coach too. Furthermore, Misbah has now also been appointed as PSL franchise Islamabad United’s coach. In short, Misbah currently holds four roles in Pakistan cricket which is not only illogical but also raises various conflict of interests.
3. Bias Against Fawad Alam?
In 2019, Fawad Alam became only the second-fastest Pakistani to cross 12,000 first-class runs. Despite consistently performing in domestic circuit, Fawad has been snubbed over and over again by the management.
Pakistan’s Test team was exposed against top-tier sides throughout the year but the management still did not consider Fawad as a potential candidate to steady the ship. After a terrible series against Australia, where Haris Sohail and Iftikhar Ahmed both failed, Fawad was finally called back to the squad after 10 years only to feature as an unused sub for the home Test series against Sri Lanka.
This treatment of Fawad has remained controversial and PCB still hasn’t provided a clear justification over the matter.
4. The Hafeez-Malik Situation
The current PCB management has failed to address issues head-on and one such example is the Hafeez-Malik situation. Both players, who were taken to the World Cup, were snubbed after the mega-event and the only justification provided was their age. Without opening any communication lines with the players, they were also stripped off the central contracts.
Many former players spoke in favor of Malik and Hafeez, who served the country for decades. As of now, both players remain unlikely to ever make a comeback in the national team.
5. Time to Replace Fakhar Zaman?
The year 2019 proved to be a travesty for Fakhar Zaman, who failed to turn up for Pakistan. Leading up to the World Cup, Fakhar Zaman had an average of just 29 and despite warning signs, PCB opted to go into the mega-event with Fakhar and Imam as two recognized openers. This was one of the main reasons why Pakistan failed to do well in the event.
The instability at the top-order has opened doors for Abid Ali, who has performed supremely well, which might force Fakhar down the pecking order.
6. Sarfaraz Sacking – Double Standards
The sacking of Sarfaraz Ahmed came as a surprise to everyone, especially because there was no backup ready. The PCB opted to appoint a different captain for each format. The reason for sacking Sarfaraz was his poor performance. However, the appointment of Azhar Ali as captain of Test squad made little sense.
Under Sarfaraz’s captaincy, Sarfaraz had the lowest average from all the batsmen and the second worst performer was Azhar Ali. This begs the question that how does PCB decide to sack one worst performer and appoint another worst performer?
7. Too Young, Too Eager
Between Naseem Shah and Mohammad Musa played a collective of six first-class matches and yet the first time they featured for Pakistan’s national team was against Australia in Australia.
This is not only a bad move but also one that is counterproductive for these youngsters as well. Neither the legendary Imran Khan nor Wasim Akram have managed to register a victory in Australia. Despite such a poor track record, Pakistan management opted to give debuts to two youngsters, which eventually cost the series to Pakistan.
This approach has been criticized heavily by former cricketers and other experts as well.