LAHORE, Feb 15 (APP): Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Wasim Khan said that Test and T20I series wins against South Africa have given the national team the required momentum and confidence to achieve better results in 2021.
Post the HBL Pakistan Super League, which will be held from 20 February to 22 March, Babar Azam’s men play five Tests, 12 One-Day Internationals and a minimum of 19 Twenty20 Internationals, besides the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021.
The 12 One-Day Internationals will be part of the 13-team ICC Super League from which the top seven sides will qualify directly for the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023,
while July/August’s three Tests against the West Indies will be their first series in the ICC World Test Championship 2021-23 cycle. Their other five series in the test championship will be in 2022 against Bangladesh and Sri Lanka (away), Australia, New Zealand and England (at home).
In addition to these, Pakistan will play, at least, 16 Twenty20 International before featuring in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021. The 2021 calendar year will end with three home T20Is against the West Indies.
Wasim said here on Monday that the main focus of the national team will be to collect maximum wins in the ICC Super League matches in order to secure a qualification for the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023.
“This year we have a rich content of white-ball cricket. Our objective is to win maximum ODIs to stay in contention for a direct qualification for the World Cup, while winning most of the T20I will help us in our preparations for the ICC T20 World Cup 2021,” Wasim said.
“The inaugural ICC World Test Championship 2019-21 didn’t go as we had hoped following loses in Australia, England and New Zealand.
But these matches definitely provided the side a great experience and we finished on a high with a series win against South Africa.
“We are ready to start our ICC World Test Championship 2021-23 journey with the series against the West Indies in August and very much looking forward to that. The West Indies will be one of the three away series with Bangladesh and Sri Lanka being the other two, while the three home series will be against Australia, New Zealand and Australia.
“There’s a lot to look forward to for our fans in our home conditions. We have already seen we are a formidable side in our conditions and very much look forward to welcoming Australia, New Zealand and England in 2022 as part of the ICC World Test Championship 2021-23.
“One of our strategic objective remains to feature in an ICC World Test Championship final in 2023 and I hope we’ll accomplish this in the 2021-23 edition.
“If you asked me about three key targets in 2021 for the national team, then these have to be to win maximum ODIs to enhance chances of directly qualifying for the 2023 World Cup, winning maximum T20Is to be in the best shape for the ICC T20 World Cup and launching our ambitions of featuring in the ICC World Test Championship with a series win in the West Indies,” Wasim said.
Following the board’s strenuous efforts, Pakistan has seen the complete resumption of international cricket in the country in December 2019 when Sri Lanka became the first side to tour Pakistan for a Test series after a 10-year-long drought. It was followed by Bangladesh’s visit to the country for a Test and three T20Is.
South Africa were the first non-Asian team to land in Pakistan since the return of international cricket in the country.
On the return of Test cricket in Pakistan, Wasim said: “It was very important for the country that we return to Pakistan and play cricket here. There is nothing like home conditions and all teams – whether it is Australia, England or New Zealand – they capitalise on the home conditions. The South Africa series underscores our ability to make the most of the home conditions as we won the series 2-0.
“It is equally important for the fans that we play in Pakistan as it provides them role models and the next generation gets inspired with their heroes playing in front of them. Once we are over the Covid-19 pandemic, the fans will get an opportunity to return to the stadia and witnessing the live cricket action once again.”
Wasim said that the PCB Cricket Committee – which advises the board’s chair on the cricket-related matters – will meet on 23 February, as part of its quarterly meet ups, and along with reviewing this series and the women’s team’s tour of Africa will monitor the preparations for the U19 Cricket World Cup next year.
“Cricket committee reviewed the team management’s performance after the New Zealand series. It was part of having checks and balances, which should be in place for me, the rest of the cricket board and the coaches. We not only reviewed the men’s team’s performances but also of the U19 team and the women’s team.
“The cricket committee is meeting on 23 February in which we will review the preparations for the U19 World Cup, which will take place next year in February in the West Indies, the men’s team’s series against the South Africa and the women’s team tour of South Africa and Zimbabwe.
“It is going to be a wide-ranging agenda. The cricket committee will continue to meet every quarter. There is a large scope of improvement and that is where the experience of the cricket committee comes in.”