The wild and wonderful ways of Pakistan cricket


When it comes to trying to understand Pakistan – incomprehensible, unfathomable Pakistan – and how they won the Champions Trophy, the only place to start is right back at the beginning. And to do that we need to go not just to their preparation for this tournament, or even how they turned things around after their opening loss to India, but all the way back to 2015.

That year, Pakistan were meant to take part in a triangular series in Zimbabwe involving the host team and the West Indies in September. But with Pakistan ranked eighth, and West Indies ninth, the former pulled out and the series was canned. The cut-off date for the top eight nations to qualify for the Champions Trophy 2017 was September 30. Pakistan did tour Zimbabwe, but conveniently the ODI series started on October 1. Pakistan qualified; West Indies didn’t.

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