Youthful Pakistan race to Twenty20 domination

Dubai: Brash young players, peak fitness and a winning mentality “in their DNA”, Pakistan are the current kings of international Twenty20 cricket.
The last two Sundays have seen Pakistan race to series whitewashes in the game’s shortest format against Australia and New Zealand.
They also have registered 11 consecutive series wins — a world record. The rapid-fire cricket of T20 mirrors the helter-skelter nature of life in the country of 220 million.
Former captain-turned-commentator Ramiz Raja believes Pakistan’s Twenty20 flair comes naturally. “It’s partly our DNA,” said Raja. “But our successes have a lot to do with skills and fitness. Pakistan is a damn good team in this format, bowling out the opposition at will.”
With their powerful and penetrative bowling unit, Pakistan have dismissed rival teams the most times — 31 in all — while, in the last two years, they have defended a total of under 150 on 40 occasions out of 44, with three failures and one tie.
Sunday’s win against New Zealand in Dubai was their ninth match victory in a row — their longest winning streak.
“Pakistan take this format very seriously and play with regular players most of the time,” said Raja.
The greatest of all the surprises is Pakistan’s fielding — not a strong point in the past. Their fielders have effected 25 run-outs in the last 28 matches.
Youth changed Pakistan
Following their first-round exit from the 2016 World Twenty20, Pakistan have a new captain in Sarfraz Ahmed while the coaching reins were handed to South Africa’s Mickey Arthur, a former Australia coach.
Chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq, one of Pakistan’s greatest batsmen, had no reservations over selecting youngsters. It completely changed the scenario as since September 2016, Pakistan have won 29 of 33 Twenty20 internationals with only four defeats.
The current year has been phenomenal for Sarfraz and his young side, winning 17 of their 19 matches with two losses.
So what has changed?
Analysts say it is linked to the youthful nature of the country. According to the Election Commission of Pakistan figures, 42.4 million out of the nearly 97 million registered voters in this year’s poll, which saw former cricket captain Imran Khan become prime minister, were between the ages of 18 and 35. — AFP