Mohammad Amir has missed the cut as Pakistan announced their 15 for the World Cup. The left-arm pacer, however, will travel to England with the team as he, along with Asif Ali, have been named as reserves for the England T20 and ODIs that precede Pakistan’s World Cup campaign.
The other notable omission from the 23-man probable squad is Mohammad Rizwan, who scored two centuries in a five-match series against Australia last month.
Squad: Sarfraz Ahmed (c), Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Abid Ali, Babar Azam, Shoaib Malik, Mohammad Hafeez (subject to fitness), Shadab Khan, Imad Wasim, Haris Sohail, Hasan Ali, Faheem Ashraf, Shaheen Afridi, Junaid Khan, Mohammad Hasnain
Abid Ali, who announced his arrival to the big stage by recording the highest score for Pakistan on debut, is one of the three openers – Imam ul Haq and Fakhar Zaman being the other two – in the side. For his ability to click 150kph, as Pakistan chief selector Inzamam ul Haq said, 18-year-old pacer Mohammad Hasnain was preferred over Amir and Usman Khan Shinwari, despite the latter being Pakistan’s best bowler average-wise since the Champions Trophy.
Hasnain, who along with Abid cleared the fitness (yo-yo) test before the squad announcement on Thursday, erupted on the scene earlier this year after a stellar run in this year’s PSL. Pakistan’s eagerness to include a genuine pacer, who can bowl quick on consistent basis, fast-tracked the teenager into Pakistan’s ODI side. Shaheen Afridi, Hasan Ali, and Junaid Khan are the other pacers.
Mohammad Hafeez, whose participation in the World Cup is subject to this fitness as he recovers from a finger injury that he sustained on his right-hand during the PSL, joins Haris Sohail, Shoaib Malik, and captain Sarfraz Ahmed as a middle-order batsman.
The allrounder spots went to Imad Wasim, Shadab Khan, and Faheem Ashraf, as anticipated.
“This is more or less the side we have been playing since the ICC Champions Trophy 2017,” Inzamam said. “I have absolute trust that this side has grown further in experience and stature since 2017. Supported by the flare, skill, talent and killing-instinct, this side has the capability and potential to rise to the occasion and produce strong performances.”
Though Inzamam hoped that the lineup for the World Cup, which is to be finalized before May 23, will be the same as the preliminary 15, he did not rule out the possibility of the two reserve players making the final cut. “That’s something which is granted to every team, not only us. I hope that none of our players get unfit, but if some untoward incident happen, we can always go to our bench strength”
Pakistan are scheduled to arrive in England on April 23. They will take on the hosts in a T20I and five ODIs before the World Cup. Their England fixtures will be preceded by two one-dayers and a T20 against county sides.