The biggest embarrassment that Pakistan is staring at right now is a possibility of not being able to qualify directly into the main eight teams of the ICC World Cup 2019. If they fail to do so, it would be a first for the country which has been playing cricket since its creation in 1947 and has won the World Cup in 1992.
It is all technical, so let us explain this in as lucid a manner as possible. First, the status.
Only eight teams qualify directly for the ICC World Cup. Those eight teams are selected based on their ICC ODI ranks.
Currently Pakistan is at the eighth place, a rank behind Bangladesh and a rank above West Indies. Points wise, Pakistan has 89, Bangladesh has 91 and West Indies has 87.
How far is the World Cup and the qualification?
World Cup will start on May 30, 2019. The final list of direct qualifiers will be out on September 30, 2017.
As per ICC rules, seven highest-ranked sides besides the host nation qualify directly. England is, therefore, in already.
Pakistan lost 1-4 against Australia in their recently concluded ODI series. This brought down their ranking.
What is there for Pakistan?
They now have only two series to prove their salt – one with Bangladesh and another with West Indies.
They play three ODIs against Bangladesh in UAE in February. If Pakistan loses the series, it will be at a perilous stage. Its points will drop behind West Indies’.
Pakistan will face West Indies for three ODIs in March-April. Only if Pakistan is able to comfortably beat the West Indies in the series can they manage to regain eighth place and directly qualify.
Technically, Pakistan cannot afford to lose against Bangladesh.
What happens if they directly fail to qualify?
Pakistan will play qualifying rounds with non-Test-playing nations such as Afghanistan, Zimbabwe, Ireland, etc.