LAHORE             -           Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chairman Ehsan Mani Tuesday said that the year 2019 will be remembered as a landmark year in Pakistan’s cricketing history.

“It ended with the country taking a major stride in ensuring full resumption of international cricket in Pakistan as Sri Lanka played two Tests in Rawalpindi and Karachi in December. Prior to the Test series, Pakistan had staged eight HBL Pakistan Super League matches in Karachi in March, while Karachi and Lahore played host to Sri Lanka in white-ball cricket in September/October, he said while reviewing year 2019 here.

“Furthermore, the revamp of the domestic structure led to riveting cricketing action on-field which renewed the fans’ interest in domestic events and various steps were taken to make the PCB a transparent corporate body. On the field in 2019, Pakistan produced mixed results,” he said.

“The men’s side lost four Tests in South Africa and Australia before ending win drought in Karachi, while it missed a place in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 semi-final by a fraction of a point after they ended up on equal points with losing finalists New Zealand. This performance came after they were swept aside by Australia and England in the lead up to the ICC’s pinnacle 50-over competition,” added the PCB chief.

Mani said: “Pakistan emerging sides produced more consistent performances. The U19s won the series in Sri Lanka and South Africa, while the Emerging side won the ACC tournament in Bangladesh. Women were not too far behind and despite being on the losing end against England, they were impressive in their shows against the West Indies and South Africa.”

The PCB got unprecedented recognition in the ICC with PCB Chairman Ehsan Mani, Chief Executive Wasim Khan and Senior Legal Counsel Barrister Salman Naseer sitting on five influential committees. Implementation of the new PCB Constitution 2019 and rolling of transparency and accountability with the PCB uploading its Chairman’s Statement of Expenses and Benefits are the administrative achievements of the year.

Mani said: “We had four objectives for the year 2019 and we have successfully met all of them. We had to reform our constitution, make the governance structure of the cricket board transparent, introduce corporate practices through clear delegation of duties and fully restore international cricket in Pakistan.

“The genesis of better on-field performances in international cricket is in domestic cricket. We have made massive investment in the revamping of our domestic structure in a very short time which has resulted in a very successful Quaid-e-Azam Trophy.

“The changes have brought forward some fundamental changes. The first-class matches have entered fourth day, which was previously missing. The pacers are not getting undue assistance anymore and this has brought spinners into play, which will address the issue of the lack of spinners. “The PCB now enjoys unprecedented representation at international level as we became part of as many as five ICC committees this year,” he added.

The PCB chief said the biggest challenge for me was to get Sri Lanka to tour Pakistan. They took small steps in their return to the country by playing white-ball cricket here first. “The biggest achievement for me was the two Tests we played against Sri Lanka at Rawalpindi and Karachi. It has sent out a message that Pakistan is safe and ready for international cricket and we will now build on it.

“We have to make cricket board more efficient and look forward at how we have to progress where there is value for money. We have to bring in more transparency and accountability and create an environment where we can work effectively,” he added.

“Our challenge is to bring consistency in our performances and deliver the results. Our players are professionals and the more they play the better they will deliver. These youngsters are extremely talented and they are the light at the end of tunnel, which has been evident by the recent performances like,” Mani concluded.