ISLAMABAD  -   The year 2018 will remain a significant year for Pakistan cricket, which includes a number of successes and failures of national team, mainly the removal of Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chairman Najam Sethi, who, despite doing wonders for Pakistan cricket, was shown the door by the Patron Imran Khan.

Najam Sethi had his highs and lows throughout his tenure both as PSB Chairman and Pakistan Super League (PSL) head, but his achievements are higher than his failures. The biggest failure of Sethi was signing MoU with the BCCI, despite being fully aware of the nature of Indians, who are well-known for breaking promises and another failure of Sethi was taking legal action against the BCCI, seeking compensation for not fulfilling the promises made with the PCB.

Sethi was trapped by his so-called advisors, who were fully aware that the MoU signed between the two respective boards doesn’t have any legal standing and it is subject to approval by the Indian government. It was a huge embarrassment for the PCB and Pakistan because as per expectations, the ICC rejected Pakistan’s appeal and to make things further worse, the PCB has to give a huge amount of Rs 270 million to the BCCI for legal cover.

Holding the PSL-3 semifinals in Lahore and then the mega final in Karachi is another biggest achievement of Sethi, while he was also instrumental in reviving international cricket in Pakistan. He formed excellent relations with the ICC and if he was given more time, he would have fulfilled promises, but strangely, the PCB Patron removed Sethi forgetting about all his good work done for Pakistan cricket, while his entire advisors and old guards are still enjoying all the perks and privileges.

Ehsan Mani was assigned to run the PCB by Imran Khan, who soon after his election through PCB Board of Governors, hired an MD and a media director, who will earn hefty amount every month besides perks and privileges. While against all the rules and regulations, Zakir Khan, who was sidelined in the previous tenures, managed to get himself appointed as Director International Cricket using his influence and close relations with PCB Patron. Zakir has long history and lot of inquiry reports have proven him guilty and declared him illegible for holding any high-profile post in the PCB.

It was a highly disappointed year, when it comes to Test cricket for Pakistan team, as they played nine Tests, won four and lost as many. They lost Test series against New Zealand at second home UAE, while they managed to beat Australia. The green caps played 18 One-Day Internationals in 2018 and managed to win just eight and one washed out, the series-decider against the Kiwis, as rain comes to Black Caps’ rescue.

When it comes to T20 format, Pakistan cricket team enjoyed overwhelming success in the shorter format of the game as they won 17 out of 19 matches, which is a new world record for shorter format. Pakistan white washed mighty Australians and Black Caps in the T20 format. Pakistan team finished 2018 at number seven in ICC Test Rankings, fifth in ODI rankings and number one in ICC’s T20 rankings.

The year 2018 will be remembered as one of the greatest years for Yasir Shah, who created world record of getting 200 wickets in Test matches, while Fakhar Zaman became the first Pakistan batsman to score double hundred in One-Day Internationals. Babar Azam will also cherish 2018, as it will prove one of the most memorable years for the youngster who scaled down new heights.

In Zimbabwe, Fakhar became the first Pakistan batsman to score 200 in ODIs and broke the two-decade old national record of Saeed Anwar. Yasir Shah became the quickest in Test history to take 200 wickets, breaking 82-year-old record of Clarrie Grimmett. Yasir also levelled Imran Khan’s national record of 14 wickets in a Test while Babar Azam became the fastest to score 1,000 runs in ODIs, breaking Virat Kohli’s record.

Muhammad Abbas emerged as one of the successful pacers of Pakistan cricket, who helped the national team win matches single-handedly, while Muhammad Amir, Hasan Ali, Shaheen Shah Afridi and Abbas shared 91 wickets among them. The 2018 was the best year for Pakistan’s pacers since 1994, when Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis were at their peak.

Like witnessed in the past, ever since Mickey Arthur has taken the reins of head coach of national team, he kept on enjoying unlimited powers give to him by the PCB, which resulted in Mickey never bothering to use highly foul language against Pakistan players and the worst example was witnessed in the first Test against South Africa, where the head coach didn’t even spare the national team skipper Sarfraz Ahmed and unleash hell on senior players.

An ordinary coach like Mickey, who was sacked by South Africa and Australia, all of a sudden became such a powerful coach in Pakistani cricket that he never bothered to destroy the careers of many notable players. His liking and disliking policy has already inflicted huge miseries on national team and his records speak themselves. In the presence of great Misbah and Younus Khan, Mikcey doesn’t have the courage to say a single word, but after the retirement of both the legends, the head coach has taken everything in his hands.

Chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq is only concerned about selection of his nephew Imam-ul-Haq and he is least bothered about providing justice to the deserving players. Not only the chief selector but the PCB Chairman also enjoys joyrides and wants to remain present at every international venue. The country is facing huge financial crisis in the absence of international cricket but the players are suffering while the officials are free to destroy national wealth with both hands.

The question here arises that what is the purpose of hiring an MD, when the chairman can easily perform these duties while there is already an army of employees in the PCB, who are handling media, then why is the PCB going to spend such a hefty amount on one single appointment as media director? Ehsan Mani and Waseem Khan don’t know the ground realities and will solely rely on the same old faces, who have spent almost their entire lives in the PCB and it is like old home for them.

It was hoped that Imran Khan, who himself is a cricketer and World Cup winner, will bring drastic changes in the PCB and Pakistan cricket, but so far only Sethi was removed while Ehsan Mani appointed a cricket committee under the chair of former Test cricketer Mohsin Hassan Khan, with Wasim Akram, Misbah-ul-Haq, Mudassar Nazar, Zakir Khan and Arooj Mumtaz as its members, but after a lapse of more than two months, the committee has only conducted one or two meetings and nothing was done for the betterment of cricket in the country. It seems PCB very masterfully sidelined outspoken Mohsin Khan by giving him lollypop.

The 2018 will remain unforgettable year for skipper Sarfraz Ahmed, who remained a total failure as a captain, wicketkeeper and especially as a batsman. He failed to justify his place in the playing XI, especially in Tests and One-Day Internationals. Pakistan team got sensational raw talent in shape of Sheen Shah Afridi, who burst into the scene with huge reputation. The 18-year-old youngster holds key for Pakistan team in 2019, while World Cup is round the corner, Pakistan team looks in complete disarray in Tests and ODIs. They need to shape up soon or else they have to face more embarrassments in 2019.