The year 2017 was extremely fruitful for Pakistan cricket where they rocked the world with their mind-blowing performances. The world saw the lost passion of Pakistan cricket, they were unpredictable at their best, winning the Champions Trophy out of nowhere was an evidence to that.
Pakistani players also ruled the world rankings. Hasan Ali started the year as 86th ranked ODI bowler and finished the year as the top-ranked bowler in the 50-over format. Pakistan’s seasoned all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez held the top position in ranking for all-rounders in ODI, whereas, Imad Wasim ruled the T20i ranking for bowlers. Moreover, Pakistan ended the year with the first position in T20 rankings for teams.
The cricket fraternity has to be wary of Pakistan’s woken lions as they look hungry for more success and they can do wonders in 2018. Here are the five players that the cricketing world should worry about this year.
Pakistan’s pace sensation is simply a destruction machine. He hunted 45 batsmen in just 18 games in 2017, having three five-wicket hauls in an inning. He was Pakistan’s key weapon in crushing batting lines during Champions Trophy 2017. He is surely the kind of bowler, batsmen would be afraid of facing in 2018.
Babar Azam has been delivering with the bat since he made his international debut. The 23-year old scored four centuries in the year and scored 872 runs at an average of 67.07, he remained the ninth highest scorer of the year in ODIs. He is currently ranked fourth in the ICC ODI ranking for batsmen. If he continues in his merry way, he can jump up in the ranking, however, he has to work on his strike rate a bit.
Mohammad Amir had some quiet outings since his return to international cricket. However, it seems like the left-arm pacer has got his flair back. He blew away India’s star-studded top order single-handedly in the final of Champions Trophy, then he was unbelievable in the county season for Essex. If Amir gets going, he is hard to stop for any batting line of the world.
This young leg-spinner has taken the world by surprise. He is a top-notch leggie, an agile fielder and a handy batsman down the order. He is a complete package for the limited over cricket for any team in the world. Brisbane Heat, the franchise of Big Bash League, did not take long to take him on board and he indeed did not disappoint them. He took six wickets in three matches, giving away 85 runs. Shadab is the future prospect to watch out, not only in 2018 but in long-term as well.
Here comes a pro! Shoaib Malik has been magical since he made his comeback in Pakistan team. He has been a consistent performer, mentor for youngsters and a key element for successful Pakistan’s limited-overs unit. Players told after Champions Trophy that it was Malik who helped them translate the horrific start to the campaign in a historic finish. Shoaib Malik is the backbone to Pakistan batting at the moment, opponents need to tame him to get better of Pakistan side.