By Muhammad Nabeel
Fri, 12, 23

Another ride around our beloved star comes to its end, and what a ride it was; full of non-stop activities, entertainment and fun!



When it comes to sports in particular, the fun never stops. All across the globe there’s so much happening in the world of sports that it is hard to keep pace even for an avid sports fan.

The year 2023 was another period of highs and lows, particularly for Pakistan Cricket Team (PCT) and their fans. The lows, unfortunately, outweighed the highs, and the year that started with so much hope and enthusiasm is sadly coming to a rather dull end for Pakistan cricket team, and their supporters.

The new look Pakistan Team is currently on tour Down Under, a place they have not won a Test match this century and with so many changes at the helm it doesn’t look very bright, but, if there’s one thing you can say with surety about Pakistan Cricket, it is that they are unbelievably unpredictable. They play their best cricket when their backs are against the wall. They thrive when it is them against the world. This is the beauty of this team; they have always been like this, the moment you make them favorites for a series or a tournament they fall like a pack of cards and just when you feel they have been rolled over and are ready for the taking they will spring back to life and become world beaters.

Seasoned fans are accustomed to these shenanigans; they know that the team regularly starts a major campaign two to three games into the tournament. The first few games are electric shocks to the team and the fan base. These shocks breathe life into the team and then all of a sudden, they go crazy!

Sometimes, however, this spark comes a little too late and by then all is lost. Unfortunately, it happened in this year’s ODI World Cup. Pakistan team looked well-equipped to mount a serious challenge on Indian pitches, but they lost crucial matches against India, Australia and Afghanistan at the start of the campaign. It was down to prayers and miracles, the usual stuff, but New Zealand who Pakistan had to overtake for the fourth place was in a very commanding position due to their significantly higher run rate. Finally, when Sri Lanka lost to NZ it was over. Pakistan finished fifth, the same position they finished at in 2019; India who went unbeaten throughout the tournament lost in the final to Australia. This is the sixth time that Australia have lifted the illustrious trophy, what a team!

The timing of the World Cup was not ideal for Pakistan. Having suffered a similar fate one month earlier at the Asia Cup, held in Pakistan and Sri Lanka, the morale was down and when the exciting young fast bowler Naseem Shah suffered an injury it made a void that seemed unfillable. The Shaheen-Naseem-Haris trinity works wonders when all are fit and available, without Naseem Shah it looked like a rickshaw that had lost its front wheel.

The highlight of the World Cup for Pakistan was the game against Sri Lanka where they chased a World Cup record target and then of course the rain hit game against NZ, which was a must win. Fakhar Zaman did what seemed unthinkable and got the team across the finish line. The target was 400 plus but when the match came to a halt due to rain Pakistan were ahead of the required score on DLS. The inning from Fakhar was a reminder that Pakistan missed a trick by not selecting him for the earlier games. In their defence, however, Fakhar was out of form but everyone knows when he gets going there are very few batsmen in the world that can play quite like the mercurial Pakistan opener.

Pakistan Women Team recently trounced New Zealand in their own den in the first 2 games of the 3-match T20 bilateral series. This is a remarkable feat; the team is showing signs that Pakistan Women team can also make a name in the game and that they cannot be taken lightly going forward. England are the only team who have managed a series win against the Kiwis in New Zealand other than Pakistan. Shawal Zulfiqar, Fatima Sana and Aliya Riaz were the outstanding performers in these two games.


The year 2023 had some positives for the Men’s National Team as well as they claimed the number 1 spot in the ODI rankings, Shaheen Afridi, albeit for a brief period, set on the throne for the top ranked bowler in the 50-over game.

Football it seems is finally getting the respect that it deserves in this country. The national team coached by former Indian National Team coach Stephen Constantine reached the second qualification round of the FIFA 2026 World Cup qualifiers. These are totally unfamiliar grounds, playing against the likes of Saudi Arabia is nothing short of a miracle. Ask a football fan in Pakistan who follows European football leagues and they will tell you what it means to watch Pakistan playing against a team coached by Roberto Mancini. The team was passionately supported in home games in the qualifying rounds.

As a football fan it gives you hope that may be Pakistan can also dream about standing shoulder to shoulder with the big boys in football, it may not happen in our lifetime but if it gets the public support and moves in the right direction then anything can happen!

Year of the Joker


One of the greats of the game Novak Djokovic claimed three out of the four Grand Slams in 2023. Now this is a 36-year-old man nearing the end of his professional playing days and he is still untouchable at the top of the chart. The no. 1 ranked Men’s Tennis player in the world and the winner of the most number of Grand Slam titles in the history of Men’s Tennis (24).

I remember when Roger Federer was at his peak it looked impossible that a player of the same calibre would appear again so early but Nadal and then Djokovic have done exactly that. Djokovic has in fact surpassed both Federer and Nadal now. He’s arguably the greatest player of all time. Young Carlos Alcaraz won this year’s Wimbledon and guess who was the other finalist? Djokovic of course.

Aryna Sabalenka won the Women singles at the Australian Open. Iga Swiatek claimed the French Open while Markéta Vondroušová and Coco Gauff won Wimbledon and the US Open respectively.

Saudi is calling

Club football saw an exodus of some high-profile players from Europe to the cash rich Saudi Pro League. Some of the biggest names in the game such as Karim Benzema, Neymar, Firmino, Mané, Riyad Mahrez and many more moved to KSA in 2023 as the Saudi Pro League flexed its financial muscle.

But it all began when the biggest name of them all Cristiano Ronaldo chose KSA as his next destination. To be fair, in the twilight of their career not many players can refuse a £173m annual salary. Messi was also for a brief period linked with the Saudi Pro League but David Beckham lured him to the United States in MLS. The Argentine maestro Lionel Messi won a record 8th Ballon d’Or of his career.

The Bald and the Beautiful

Back in Europe Manchester City swept aside everything that came their way. They became the first Premier League club after Manchester United in 1999 to win the illustrious treble. They won the Premier League the FA Cup and the coveted UEFA Champions League under Pep Guardiola. Texas Rangers won the MLB World Series this year. On June 13, 2023 Denver Nuggets beat Miami Heat 4-1 in the NBA finals.

The year will end with Pakistan playing a Test Series under their new captain Shan Masood against Australia. The team’s record Down Under is miserable and Australia are flying high on the back of winning the World Cup so it will be difficult there.

Next up is the T20I Series against the Kiwis under the new T20I captain Shaheen Afridi. The next T20 World Cup is only 6 months away so this tour is very important for Pakistan against a tough opponent and all eyes will be on Shaheen Afridi who also captained his PSL side Lahore Qalandars to the PSL title earlier this year.

The action will continue non-stop. Olympics will be held in Paris next year in August so keep your eyes glued to the screens sports fans as it will only get busier than ever before.