5 star players who have turned Pakistan into a formidable ODI team
It was not too long ago that Pakistan was ranked eighth in ODIs, and consequently in serious jeopardy of missing out on automatic qualification for the 2019 World Cup in England. Channeling their trademark unpredictability, they have risen from the ashes and become genuine contenders for the game's flagship event.
After edging past West Indies in the three-match series in the Caribbean, Sarfraz Ahmed's rejuvenated troops proceeded to lift the 2017 edition of the Champions Trophy against all odds.
With the retirements of former skipper Misbah-ul-Haq and batting stalwart Younis Khan leaving gaping holes in their Test team, Pakistan's UAE fortress was breached in the two-match series by Sri Lanka. However, they reiterated that their ODI fortunes continue to be on the upswing by demolishing a hapless Lankan team 5-0.
Extra Cover: 5 reasons why Sri Lanka was whitewashed by Pakistan
In order of impact and consistency, here are five dynamic cricketers who have successfully managed to turn Pakistan into a dangerous ODI team once again.
#5 Sarfraz Ahmed
Following Pakistan's ignominious 0-3 whitewash at the hands of Bangladesh in 2015, there were many who bemoaned Azhar Ali's insipid leadership. Successive 1-4 ODI series losses in England and Australia left the Pakistan Cricket Board with no choice but to sack the makeshift opener from captaincy.
Having led his country to a U-19 World Cup title (2006), Sarfraz Ahmed became the natural choice to take over the mantle.
With his passionate leadership and aggressive approach, the wicketkeeper-batsman breathed fresh life into what had become a stagnant ODI outfit. He wears his emotions on his sleeve, and his positive mindset and self-belief seems to have rubbed off onto his team mates.
While there is much room for improvement on the Test front, Sarfraz's captaincy in the limited-overs formats has been nothing but brilliant. The coveted throne is usually seen as a poisoned chalice in Pakistan. However, the gloveman has shown that he heralds a bright future for his team.
It is, without doubt, his attacking leadership that has revived Pakistan's inimitable panache.
1,650 runs from 80 ODIs at an average of 35.11 and strike-rate of 87.86; two centuries and seven 50s
12 wins and 2 defeats from 14 matches