Pakistan’s national cricket team has unveiled its 15-player squad for the upcoming ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup, scheduled for October and November in India. The selection process, led by Inzamam-ul-Haq, focused on maintaining consistency and confidence within the current team, resulting in only one change—a replacement that was necessitated by an injury.
Fast bowler Naseem Shah, who suffered a shoulder injury during the Men’s ODI Asia Cup 2023 match against India on September 11, has been replaced by Hasan Ali. After extensive medical evaluations and consultations with leading experts, it has been advised that Naseem undergo surgery, with an expected recovery time of three to four months.
The finalized Pakistan squad for the World Cup includes
- Babar Azam (captain)
- Shadab Khan (vice-captain)
- Abdullah Shafique
- Fakhar Zaman
- Haris Rauf
- Hasan Ali
- Iftikhar Ahmed
- Mohammad Nawaz
- Mohammad Rizwan (wicket-keeper)
- Mohammad Wasim Jr.
- Salman Ali Agha
- Saud Shakeel
- Shaheen Shah Afridi
- Usama Mir
Three traveling reserves have been named:
- Mohammad Haris (wicketkeeper-batter)
- Abrar Ahmed (mystery spinner)
- Zaman Khan (fast bowler)
Inzamam-ul-Haq, the chief selector, expressed his sentiments regarding the squad selection, stating, “The World Cup is the most important event in any cricketer’s life, and I want to congratulate all the cricketers who have made it to the squad through their impressive performances. This team has performed wonderfully well over the last couple of years, and that is why we have shown faith in the same bunch.”
He acknowledged the necessity of the forced change due to Naseem Shah’s injury but reassured fans that all players are fully fit and eager to compete in the upcoming tournament. Inzamam-ul-Haq also shared promising updates on Haris Rauf’s fitness, indicating that he has begun shadow bowling at the National Cricket Academy and will be available for selection.
With a firm belief in the squad’s potential, Inzamam-ul-Haq expressed optimism about Pakistan’s chances in the World Cup, saying, “It is time to get behind our team and provide them with the backing and support that they need.”
Pakistan’s World Cup campaign will begin with two warm-up matches, one against New Zealand on September 29 and another against Australia on October 3. Their official tournament opener is scheduled against the Netherlands on October 6.
Babar Azam’s side enters the mega-event as the number one ranked team and boasts the best win/loss ratio of 2.400 in this World Cup cycle among all One-Day International format teams.
Pakistan’s World Cup history includes a memorable victory in 1992 when they lifted the trophy at the MCG after defeating England. In 2019, they narrowly missed a semi-final spot due to a lower net run rate compared to New Zealand, who ended up as runners-up. Pakistan also reached the finals in 1999 and the semi-finals in 1979, 1983, 1987, and 2011.
As they prepare to embark on their World Cup journey, Pakistan aims to replicate the glory of their past achievements and make their nation proud with stellar performances on the cricket field.