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Pakistan’s likelihood to restore their dormant one-day cricket

Despite not making it to the semi-finals of the 2019 World Cup, Pakistan had their moments. They won four games in a row to sign off the tournament and they beat both teams that ended up making it to the final. They lost out on a semi-final spot to New Zealand on net run-rate, thanks to a crushing defeat against West Indies in their first game, a contender for their worst World Cup performance of all time.

That could be viewed as a positive tournament for a nation ranked seventh going into it, but the PCB came to a different conclusion, letting go of the coaching staff and replacing the captain. The job was given to Misbah-ul-Haq, his first major coaching role since his international retirement in 2017. But two years on from an ODI tournament which the PCB felt necessitated a change, what do we know about the new man’s plans for that format?

Surprisingly little, really, but the blame for that can hardly lie at the head coach’s feet. Pakistan have played a mere five ODIs since Misbah’s appointment, fewer than Papua New Guinea, Oman and Namibia; only Nepal, with four, have played less ODI cricket in that time. Two ODIs against Sri Lanka in 2019 and the three Zimbabwe played in Rawalpindi last year offer the only glimpse into Pakistan’s roadmap for the 2023 World Cup for now.

While that might have taught us little, Pakistan are about to head into a series that should offer plenty more insight. The three-match series in Centurion and Johannesburg is the first real test of a Misbah-led ODI side, and the head coach’s first audition to retain that position going into the 2023 World Cup. With much of Pakistan’s focus on T20 cricket over the past year – understandably so, given there are two T20 World Cups before the next ODI World Cup – this format has been something of an afterthought.

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