“Pakistan cricket at its best; one minute down, next minute up” nothing describes Pakistan’s World Cup performance better than this one comment made by ex-cricketer Danny Morrison, who also covered World Cup 2019 as an expert on Ten Sports Pakistan.

They were down and out in the first half. They showed their resilient character in the second half and almost made it to the semi-finals. However, it’s about time that we stop celebrating this unpredictability and start making amends after this dismal performance. They may have finished their campaign with a bang, beating both England and New Zealand but their start was nothing more than a whimper. Losing to a team like West Indies in the opening match of the World Cup was something that no one expected. The horrendous batting performance in opening match kept haunting Pakistan in its matches against India and Australia. The team found some stability after the inclusion of Harish Sohail in the later stage of the tournament but it was too little too late. Here are some takeaways from Pakistan’s World Cup campaign.

THE RECORD THAT NO ONE WANTS: HIGHEST NUMBER OF DROPPED CATCHES

Pakistan’s fielding performance throughout the World Cup was appalling. They had already dropped 14 catches after their first 6 matches of the World Cup. Pakistan has always been criticized for its poor fielding performance but in this World Cup, they were a bit more klutz than usual and finished (not so proudly) at top of the list of the most dropped catches in this tournament.

Sarfraz XI seemed lethargic in the field and made a lot of blunders both inside and outside the circle, leaking runs on regular intervals. The energy level was not at par with other teams but still, somehow they managed to punch above their weight.

PAKISTAN’S HAIL MARY SQUAD

If you want to find logic in Pakistan’s team selection then don’t because there wasn’t any. When the highest performing individuals in the team, Amir and Wahab, are those who weren’t even initially a part of the World Cup squad it raises a lot of questions.

Shoaib Malik, even after his career’s lowest average was included in the team, but the former stalwart failed to deliver at all. Asif Ali, the highly praised hard hitter had yet another bad run in the international cricketing arena. Muhammad Hasnain, a 19-year-old pacer didn’t even get a chance to play a single match on the tour. After a while, it seemed Pakistan had no replacements on the bench.

A STAR IS BORN

A 19-year-old young gun from Landi Kotal, Shaheen Afridi, holds the best bowling figures in the world cup for Pakistan now. Shaheen Shah Afridi showed a very high level of maturity at a very young age. The future looks bright for the youngster, given that he maintains his fitness and continues working hard.

In Pakistan’s final match of the World Cup against Bangladesh Afridi showed some real class. In just 9.1 overs the young pacer sent 6 batsmen back to the pavilion for just 35 runs. This is definitely something to celebrate for Pakistani cricket lovers. A new ‘Afridi’ is in the making.

STRENGTH IN PAKISTAN’S BATTING LINEUP

Pakistan is known for producing some of the finest fast bowlers in international cricket, but, when it comes to batting there are always doubts. However, it finally seems that Pakistan’s middle order is on the path of recovery. Both Babar Azam and Haris Sohail impressed with their intelligent stroke-making and shot selection.

Imad Wasim and Shadab Khan provide much-needed depth in the lineup. With a few changes at the top, Pakistan will have a very reliable batting squad. It’s imperative that the coaches at National Cricket Academy and Mickey Arthur keep mentoring the players to bring the best out of them. There is also a need to improve the domestic structure as well as the entire cricket culture in Pakistan.

Although PSL and T20 matches get a lot of traction but T20 cricket has also faltered the technique of players, both bowlers, and batsmen. It’s important that players play the longer format of the game to have the patience of lasting 50 overs in the field for an ODI match.

It would be unfair to not give credit where it’s due. Although Pakistan could not qualify for the semifinals they were, without a doubt, the most exciting team of the world cup, making life difficult for both of the finalists at one stage. With better team selection and effective management, this team can do wonders in the future.