In recent years, Pakistan has shown promise in all formats, with a renewed focus on nurturing young talents and improving team dynamics. However, challenges like match-fixing scandals and security concerns affecting international cricket in the country have presented hurdles.
Pakistan's performance in international cricket has been a rollercoaster ride, marked by moments of brilliance and periods of inconsistency. The nation has the talent and potential to shine on the global stage, but achieving sustained success remains a challenging endeavour.
Cricket fans around the world continue to watch with anticipation as Pakistan strives to solidify its place among the cricketing elite.
Men in Green will be in the spotlight again during the upcoming Asia Cup 2023 tournament which is scheduled to take place in Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Pakistan has won the Asia Cup twice and this year they would be looking forward to increasing their number.
Babar Azam and his army have shown great potential in the ODI format and they will be eyeing to give themselves a major boost before the ODI World Cup by lifting the Asia Cup trophy.
Without a doubt, Pakistan’s strength lies in its fast-paced bowling attack with a trio of Haris Rauf, Shaheen Afridi, and Naseem Shah. Shaheen Afridi has not been consistent since his return from the injury but he is regaining the momentum slowly and gradually he is expected to wonders with the new ball.
Afridi’s pace and swing with the new ball are unplayable and can do major damage to the opposition. Haris Rauf has been consistent with his pace and can destroy the opening lineup with the new ball. The young gun, Naseem Shah, has shown his ability to pick wickets and control the run rate of the opposition in recent matches.
Another strength of Pakistan is their opening batting order with skipper Babar Azam, Imam-ul-Haq, and Fakhar Zaman on the list. The tri has performed exceptionally well in recent matches, especially in the ODI format. Babar Azam is at the top rank in the ICC list with a rating of 880. Imam-ul-Haq is ranked third in the same list with Fakhar Zaman at the fifth spot.
The extreme ends of Pakistan are its strength but the middle order carries a major weakness. Questions have been asked regarding the inconsistency of the batter from number 4 to number 6. Mohammad Rizwan has proved himself as an exceptional batter in the past but in recent matches, he has failed to impress and has shown inconsistency.
In Asia Cup, Rizwan is expected to bat at number 4 and if that happens Iftikhar Ahmed, Salman Ali Agha, and Tayyab Tahir will be the choice for number 5 and number 6. However, the trio has not established the trust that is needed from them.
Pakistan’s opportunity lies with the two new faces Abdullah Shafique and Saud Shakeel. Abdullah Shafique has been part of 3 ODIs for Pakistan and he has scored 28 runs with a strike rate of 66.7.
Even though he has fewer runs in his pocket, the youngster has shown a higher strike rate and the ability to score quick runs. Saud Shakeel has been part of 5 ODIs for Pakistan and he has scored 67 runs at a strike rate of 66.3. Shakeer is the right kind of batter to handle the pressure of scoring runs in death overs.
Pakistan’s biggest threat is the missing piece of the puzzle which the spin bowling. Shadab Khan is the only successful full-time spinner the team has and if he fails the whole team will be in danger during the middle overs.
Mohammad Nawaz and Usama Mir are the other two options for spin bowling but they don’t carry much experience and might not be able to handle the pressure of the Asia Cup.