The Pakistan cricket team, popularly known as Shaheens in Urdu, is administered by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB). Pakistan is a full member of International Cricket Council (ICC), with a Test, One Day International (ODI) and T20 International (T20I) -playing status. Following a recommendation by India, Pakistan was given a Test status on July 28, 1952. They played their first ever Test match against India at Feroz Shah Kotla ground, New Delhi, in October 1952. However, Pakistan lost their first Test match, defeated by India by an innings and 70 runs. Before the creation of Pakistan in 1947, several Pakistani Test players had played for the India cricket team as well. The prominent players among them are Gul Mohammad, Abdul Kardar and Amir Elahi. Currently, Sarfraz Khan is the captain of the Pakistan national cricket team for all formats, while Mickey Arthur is the head coach.
Pakistan cricket team have played the highest number of T20I matches. They won the 2009 ICC World Twenty20 and were runners-up in the inaugural tournament in 2007, which India won. The team also won the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy for the first time, defeating India.
Pakistan cricket has suffered a lot from security issues which prevented foreign teams from visiting the country, primarily due to the 2009 attack on the Sri Lankan national cricket team. Since then, Pakistan play their home matches mostly in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). However, due to a marked decrease in terrorism in Pakistan over the past few years along with a sharp increase in security, many teams have toured the country since 2015 and the situation appears to be getting better. The teams that played cricket in Pakistan post 2015 include Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka, West Indies, and an ICC World XI. The PCB also started Pakistan Super League (PSL), a domestic T20 tournament in 2015, in line with the Indian Premier League (IPL).
Pakistan at ICC ODI World Cups
Pakistan had a dismal performance in the inaugural edition of the ICC World Cup in 1975. In the eight-team tournament, Pakistan finished 5th with one win and 2 loses. However, Pakistan improved their performance in the next three editions (1979, 1983, 1987) as they made it to the semi-finals, but failed to progress further. Pakistan had a memorable 1992 World Cup under the captaincy of all-rounder Imran Khan as they won their first major title in the limited overs format. Javed Miandad, Inzmam-ul-Haq, Wasim Akram and Moin Khan played important roles to help Pakistan win the coveted trophy. In the final game of the ICC cricket World Cup 1992, Imran Khan played a captain’s knock as he went on to score a match-winning 72 after Graham Gooch dropped him for nine.
In the 1996 World Cup, Pakistan progressed to the Quarter-finals while they were the runners up in the 1999 World Cup which was hosted jointly by England, Scotland and the Netherlands. However, they were eliminated in the first round in the 2003 and 2007 World Cups. The 2007 eiditon of the tournament was a trgaic one for the country as they lost their coach, Bob Woolmer. In the 2011 World Cup, the Pakistan cricket team sailed to the semi-finals but India halted their progress with a 29-run victory at Mohali. Pakistan made it to the quarterfinals in ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 which was jointly hosted by Australia and New Zealand. Pakistan cricket team is regarded as among the 'Big Guns' given the fact that they handed defending champions India a major upset at the ICC Champions Trophy held in England in 2017.
Though the team faced a heavy setback at the hands of the English cricketing side in a 5-match ODI series just before the onset of the current World Cup, they still remain a crucial side to watch out for.