ISLAMABAD: As the curtains fall on 2023, the year showcased a rollercoaster ride for Pakistan’s cricket team, marked by moments of triumph, controversies, and significant transitions.
Pakistan initiated the year with a setback, facing an ODI series loss against New Zealand after drawing a two-match Test series.
T20 Stumble Against Afghanistan
Shadab Khan took over the T20 captaincy from Babar Azam for a home series against Afghanistan. However, the team’s poor performance led to Afghanistan’s historic T20 series win against Pakistan.
ODI Victory Against New Zealand
In a turn of fortunes, Pakistan secured a 4-1 victory in the ODI series against New Zealand, seizing the triumph after 12 years and achieving their 500th ODI win.
Test Series Whitewash in Sri Lanka
Continuing their momentum, Pakistan dominated Sri Lanka in a two-match Test series, securing a clean sweep and claiming the top position in the Test Championship 2025 points table.
ODI Success Against Afghanistan
Following the triumph in Sri Lanka, Pakistan maintained their winning streak in a three-match ODI series against Afghanistan, securing victory by 3-0.
Asia Cup Challenges
The Asia Cup presented a mixed bag for Pakistan. While they defeated Nepal, the encounter with India ended in a rain-induced draw. Subsequent defeats against India and Sri Lanka led to Pakistan’s exit from the tournament.
World Cup Struggles
Despite entering the World Cup as one of the top four teams, Pakistan faced challenges after a defeat to India. Subsequent losses resulted in an early exit from the tournament, leaving fans disheartened.
Australia Test Series
Closing the year with a Test series against Australia, Pakistan faced disappointment as Australia clinched the series by 2-0. A missed opportunity to beat Australia on their soil added to the historical struggles of the Men in Green.
Babar Azam Steps Down
Post-World Cup exit, Babar Azam stepped down as captain in all formats, leading to Shan Masood and Shaheen Shah Afridi taking charge of the Test and T20 formats, respectively.
Controversies of Pakistan’s Cricket
In 2023, controversies marred Pakistan cricket, starting with chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq’s resignation amid conflict of interest allegations. Rashid Latif’s claims of communication issues between PCB officials and Babar Azam further fueled debates.
Babar Azam’s Privacy Breach
A breach of privacy occurred when a journalist leaked Babar Azam’s private WhatsApp chat with a PCB official, triggering public outrage.
Wahab Riaz as Chief Selector
Former fast bowler Wahab Riaz took charge as the chief selector, bringing a fresh perspective to the national men’s selection committee.
New Team Management
Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) announced a revamped team management for the Australia tour, including notable names like Mohammad Hafeez, Adam Hollioake, and Umar Gul.
Injuries to Pakistan Cricket Players
The year witnessed key players like Naseem Shah, Ihsanullah, Mohammad Husnain, Abrar Ahmed, and Noman Ali grappling with injuries, impacting team dynamics.
ODI Rankings Triumph
Despite the challenges, Pakistan secured the top spot in the ICC ODI rankings, reflecting their consistency in the format.
Shaheen Shah Afridi and Babar Azam’s stellar performances in the ODI World Cup led to them claiming the top spots in ICC bowling and batting rankings, respectively.
Women’s Cricket Team Success
Pakistan’s women’s team made history by winning T20 series against South Africa and New Zealand, showcasing their prowess on the international stage.