They can play steady — the men in green have shown that in the recently-concluded Test series against England in the UAE and they also can play well in the shortest format as the team holds second spot in both Test and Twenty20 International rankings.
But Pakistan players have put lacklustre performances in One-day Internationals and therefore, the team is trailing at number eight in the ODI rankings.
The national team was on the verge of elimination for next edition of the ICC Champions Trophy in England when fighting a three-way battle with Bangladesh and West Indies for the two remaining spots.
After some spectacular performances from Bangladesh and below-par showing from West Indies, Pakistan finished a spot behind Bangladesh and a place above West Indies at the cut-off date for the qualification.
Ask a former Pakistan coach and he will tell you that this is all about failure to find the right team balance.
“I believe ranking makes little difference ahead of a match or a series. In contemporary competitive game, many factors should be taken into consideration,” said Mohsin Khan, the former national coach, who has also served as Pakistan’s chief selector. “The biggest thing which I believe has contributed to our low ODI standing is poor team selection,” Mohsin told ‘The News on Sunday’.
“To me, the eighth ranking doesn’t reflect the true potential of Pakistan ODI cricket team. There have been some blunders. There were selections made on personal likes and dislikes. But now I think and hope things are going on the right track. Azhar Ali is a good player and I hope things will shape in Pakistan’s way,” the former Test cricketer added.
South Africa are the top-ranked side in Tests. They are No 3 in ODIs and No 4 in T20Is. Sri Lanka are the top-ranked side in the shortest format. They are No 5 in ODIs and No 7 in Tests.
Many teams like India, New Zealand and Bangladesh have shown a similar tendency as Pakistan. They, too, have somewhat similar T20 and Test rankings and a different ODI ranking.
But all of these teams have better ODI rankings than Test and T20 rankings. Qualification for the next year’s Champions Trophy must have played a huge role in these teams’ planning and concentration on ODI format.
All teams, especially Bangladesh, must have started focusing on Cricket World Cup 2019. Hosts England and seven other top-ranked sides as on September 30, 2017, will qualify directly for the cricket’s biggest spectacle.
The present Pakistan ODI ranking shows the lack of foresightedness on the part of Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) think tanks. Good showings in Tests and T20Is suggest that Pakistan players can play well in Test cricket, which requires good temperament, and in fast-moving T20 format as well.
However, the think tanks, coaches and selectors have failed to channel and encourage the talent into one-dayers, which require both steady and quick thinking. There is certainly something amiss. The experts in the board must recognise and address it before other lower-ranked teams overtake us.