ODI debacle.

THE year of the One-day International World Cup could not have gotten off to a better start for Pakistan - a victory against New Zealand, in which Pakistan hardly broke sweat in a run chase with their batters in total control. But after the first of the three ODIs, things spiralled out of control. A batting collapse in the face of spin saw the tourists level the series by winning the second ODI. New Zealand clinched the series after Glenn Phillips' explosive knock undid Pakistan in the decider. With the World Cup in India this year, the 2-1 series reverse has raised questions about the side, which continues to struggle in ODIs and Tests. Victory in the first match had raised hopes - Pakistan could have gone to the top of ODI rankings with a series sweep, but the results that followed show that Babar Azam's men have work to do ahead of the World Cup - although, in its defence, the team continues to be without pace spearhead Shaheen Shah Afridi and ace leg-spinner and vice-captain Shadab Khan.

Shadab's absence meant that...

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