The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) made a significant announcement on Friday, unveiling the 15-member squad that will represent Pakistan in the highly anticipated ODI World Cup 2023, scheduled to take place in India. Led by captain Babar Azam, the squad boasts a mix of experienced players and promising talents, although it comes with one notable absence.
Naseem Shah’s unfortunate omission
One of the most notable points of this squad announcement is the absence of Pakistan’s premier pace bowler, Naseem Shah. Naseem, known for his fiery pace and ability to trouble batsmen, has been ruled out of the multi-team event. In response, Pakistan has turned to the seasoned fast bowler Hasan Ali to fill the void left by Naseem’s unavailability.
Introduction of Usama Mir
Additionally, Pakistan has decided to reinforce their spin department by including legspinner Usama Mir in the World Cup squad. Usama, who made his ODI debut earlier this year against New Zealand, was not part of the Asia Cup squad, making his inclusion a notable decision.
Pace battery and all-rounders
The pace attack for Pakistan will be led by the likes of Shaheen Shah Afridi, Haris Rauf, and the promising Mohammad Wasim Jnr. Mohammad Haris has been named among the reserves, ready to step in if needed. The spin-bowling allrounder Mohammad Nawaz has retained his place in the side, while Faheem Ashraf did not make the final cut.
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Leadership duo and wicketkeeper
In terms of leadership, Babar will continue to captain the side, while the versatile Shadab Khan will serve as his deputy. Mohammad Rizwan, who has been in impressive form with the bat and gloves, will shoulder the responsibilities of wicketkeeping.
Preparations and opening fixture
Pakistan’s preparation for the ODI World Cup includes two warm-up matches. They are set to face New Zealand in their first practice game on September 29, followed by another warm-up match against Australia on October 3. The real test begins on October 6 when Pakistan faces the Netherlands in their first official game of the tournament, which will be held in Hyderabad.
Pakistan Squad for ODI World Cup 2023:
Babar Azam (c), Shadab Khan (vc), Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Abdullah Shafique, Mohammad Rizwan, Iftikhar Ahmed, Agha Salman, Saud Shakeel, Mohammad Nawaz, Shaheen Afridi, Haris Rauf, Hasan Ali, Usama Mir, Mohammad Wasim Jr
Reserves: Mohammad Haris, Zaman Khan, Abrar Ahmed