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Pakistan Faces Challenges Ahead of ICC T20 World Cup 2024

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Pakistan’s journey to the upcoming ICC T20 World Cup has been marked by a series of challenging events both on and off the field. These trials, however, have not dampened the team’s spirit. Umar Gul, the former leading pace bowler for Pakistan, has expressed his belief that the team’s ability to overcome these chaotic preparations will be a testament to their resilience and could potentially impact their performance at the competition.

The Pakistani team, which was the runner-up in the T20 World Cup in 2022, experienced a disappointing outing during the 50-over World Cup in India, failing to qualify for the semifinals and resulting in the resignation of their captain, Babar Azam.

Off-field turmoil within the country’s cricket board, with four different chairpersons in the same period, alongside multiple changes in coaching staff, has further disrupted the team’s stability. These changes have not only affected the team’s leadership but also its strategic planning and player morale. Although the current chairperson has reinstated Babar Azam as the captain, the unstable environment has raised concerns about the team’s preparedness for the upcoming World Cup.

In the 18-month period leading up to the T20 World Cup, Pakistan won only nine out of 25 T20 international matches, with their lone T20 series victory coming against Ireland, a team ranked five places below them on the ICC T20 team rankings. These issues have compounded to provide Pakistan with far-from-ideal preparation for the high-stakes T20 World Cup.

According to Umar Gul, the frequent changes in leadership and coaching staff have disrupted the team’s unity and undermined the players’ confidence. These changes have led to a lack of stability and consistency in the team’s strategies and game plans, making it challenging to establish long-term plans.

Pakistan has struggled to find form and consistency in their team selection, despite playing a considerable amount of T20 cricket, including their home T20 franchise league, since the 50-over World Cup. The team has made concerted efforts to address their batting weaknesses, including the inclusion of players such as Mohammad Amir, Imad Wasim, and Usman Khan. However, these efforts have not translated into on-field success, as evidenced by their recent series defeat against England.

As Pakistan embarks on their tournament campaign against co-hosts USA, their new coach Gary Kirsten steps into the arena with a daunting task. However, his wealth of experience and strategic approach could be the catalyst for a turnaround in the team’s fortunes. Umar Gul identifies Pakistan’s lack of success to poor batting and bowling performance during the middle overs, underlining the potential for improved performance in these crucial phases of the game under Kirsten’s guidance.

Despite the challenges, Umar Gul remains optimistic about Pakistan’s prospects in the T20 World Cup. He points to the exciting potential of players like Saim Ayub, Fakhar Zaman, and Shaheen Shah Afridi, who could potentially turn the tide in favor of the team. Their skills and abilities are a source of anticipation and excitement for the tournament.

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