If we look at the whole campaign of Pakistan in Asia Cup 2022, the team, even though it made though the final, still struggled with number of issues. In the Super 4 and the final, it suffered humiliating defeats.
Pakistani skipper Babar Azam accepted that the team commited a number of mistakes because of which it lost the game. And now with with just a month left for the T20 World Cup, Pakistan has a lot to work on.
The big worries of Pakistan:
1. The middle order: Even before the Asia Cup, it was said that Pakistan's middle order, which has batters like Khusdil Shah, Mohammad Nawaz, Asif Ali, Shadab Khan and Iftikhar Ahmed, is not that impressive on the international stage. If we look at the last six outings of Pakistan in Asia Cup, in at least three matches against Afghanistan, Sri Lanka and India, team's middle order collapsed.
This was even pointed out by former Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur. In an interview to Espncricinfo, Arthur said that he always felt that the achilees heel of the team was always number four, five and six of the batting lineup withs Iftikhar Ahmed, Mohammad Nawaz and Khushdil Shah. Arthur said that the middle order needs experienced batsmen who can absorb pressure in tough situations. He specifically pointed to a match against Afghanistan where Pakistan's middle order had once again failed chasing 131. Though the team was rescued by Naseem Shah in the end, questions were still pointed against the batters.
2. The form of Babar Azam: ICC's number one batter in One Day Internationals (ODIs) and Pakistan's top batter, Bazar Azam, has struggled with the bat during the entire Asia Cup. Azam, in the last six matches, only scored 10, 9, 14, 30, 0 and 5. The skipper scored only 68 runs at a strike rate of 107.93. Before the Asia Cup, he was in a very good form.
Pakistan's head coach Saqlain Mushtaq, however, defended Azam in the press conference after the final at Dubai. He said that Azam is a world class player and this is just a rough patch he is going through. He added that the skipper has been unlucky for a while and he will be back in form and there is nothing to worry about him.
3. Fakhar Zaman's poor run: Considered one of the best batters of the team, Zaman also had a terrible time with the bat in this Asia Cup. In the six matches so far, Zaman could only score 96 runs. His only half century in the tournament came against a weak Hong Kong team. Apart from that, he failed to impress with the bat. The 32-year-old left-handed batter comes at number third position. He is also one of the senior most batters of the team along with Azam and Rizwan. The team's entire batting hugely depends upon these three.
What's next? Pakistan will host England in a 7-match T20I series. The matches will take place at the National Stadium and Gaddafi Stadium. It would be also interesting to see if the selectors bring in batters like Haider Ali and Shan Masood who are waiting in the pipeline to be included in the squad. The first match will be played at the National Stadium on September 20. Before the T20I World Cup, Pakistan has the chance to look into the issues and fix them.