After unexpected delays, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has finally announced the 15-member squad for the upcoming ICC ODI World Cup 2023 in India beginning next month. Batting great and chief selector, Inzamam-ul-Haq revealed the names of the players at Lahore's Gaddafi Stadium on Friday. (More Cricket News)
Pacer Hasan Ali has been drafted into Pakistan's ODI World Cup squad in place of the injured Naseem Shah, who is set for a lengthy layoff. Naseem, 20, had suffered a shoulder injury during their match against India in the Asia Cup. He has been advised to undergo surgery and is expected to recover in three to four months.
Ali, 29, is returning to the ODI fold after a year-long hiatus following his last appearance against West Indies in 2022. Leg-spinner Usama Mir also gets a call-up but bowling all-rounder Faheem Ashraf misses out.
"We were forced to make one change because of an unfortunate injury to Naseem Shah. We had a few injury scares in the recent Asia Cup, but I am glad to share that all the players are fully fit and are eager to perform for their country in the all-important tournament," Inzamam said in a release.
"I have received encouraging reports from our medical panel about Haris Rauf. He has started to (shadow) bowl at the National Cricket Academy and will be available for selection, the chief selector added. "I have a firm belief that this squad can bring the World Cup trophy to Pakistan and make the whole nation proud with their incredible performances. It is time to get behind our team and provide them with the backing and support that they need."
Babar Azam will captain the team, while Shadab Khan remains the team's vice-captain. Pakistan will enter the mega event as the number one ranked side. Pakistan, who defied the odds to win the title in 1992 under the captaincy of Imran Khan, will play two warm-up matches against New Zealand on September 29 and Australia on October 3 before their tournament opener against the Netherlands on October 6 in Hyderabad.
Pakistan World Cup squad: Babar Azam (c), Shadab Khan (vc), Muhammad Rizwan, Imam-ul-Haq, Abdullah Shafique, Saud Shakeel, Fakhar Zaman, Haris Rauf, Hasan Ali, Iftikhar Ahmed, Muhammad Nawaz, Muhammad Wasim Junior, Agha Salman, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Osama Mir.
Inzamam-ul-Haq also announced three travelling reserves -- wicketkeeper-batter Mohammad Haris, spinner Abrar Ahmed and fast bowler Zaman Khan for the tournament.
The 10-team 2023 ODI World Cup starts on October 5 with a clash between the previous edition's finalists England and New Zealand in Ahmedabad. The tournament will be played in a round-robin format, with all teams playing against each other. The top four teams will then qualify for the semi-finals.
Other teams are Afghanistan, Australia, Bangladesh, South Africa and Sri Lanka.
Earlier, former captain Muhammad Hafeez stepped down from PCB's Cricket Technical Committee. The decision was reportedly taken after a review meeting of Pakistan's poor performance in the Asia Cup.
"I decided to leave the Pakistan Cricket Technical Committee. I served as an honorary member. I would like to thank Zaka Ashraf for giving me this opportunity. I'm always available whenever Zaka Ashraf needs my honest suggestions for Pakistan cricket. My best wishes for Pakistan cricket as always," Hafeez wrote on 'X'.
The meeting, which was called by PCB chairman Zaka Ashraf, was also attended by national team captain Babar Azam, team director Mickey Arthur, head coach Grant Bradburn, Chief Operating Officer Salman Nasser, Head of International Cricket Usman Wahla and former skipper Misbah ul Haq. But chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq chose not to attend.