Sarfraz, Arthur reflect on mixed year for Pakistan cricket

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KARACHI: Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed and head coach Mickey Arthur hoped for better results in the coming year while reflecting with satisfaction despite a mixed bag in 2018. “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, who is currently in South Africa, said in a PCB media release on Monday.

Arthur concurred, when he remarked: “The Lord’s victory over England, a 1-0 series win over Australia and world record 17 T20 victories were obviously the highlights of the year. But we could have also won the series against New Zealand and the Centurion Test, because 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.”

Pakistan played nine Tests during the year, winning four of them and also 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 Black Caps a 280-run 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 team 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 ranking chart, Pakistan seized top spot from New Zealand and retained the No 1 slot with 138 points after collecting 14 points during the year.

“This was the first calendar year in which Pakistan were playing without stalwarts like Younis Khan and Misbah-ul-Haq in the Test match format,” said Sarfraz. “I know many players have missed them and we as a team have certainly missed their experience and knowledge.