LAHORE, Apr 18 (APP):Pakistan cricket selectors Thursday named a 15-player squad for the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2019, which included 11 players from the side that won the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 in England and Wales.
Pakistan defeated India by 180 runs at The Oval on 18 June 2017 to become only the third country in the history of the game to win all four men’s ICC events – the ICC Cricket World Cup, the ICC Champions Trophy, the ICC T20 World Cup and the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup. The other two sides to achieve the rare Golden Slam are India and the West indies.
Players retained from the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 winning party include: Sarfaraz Ahmed (captain), Babar Azam, Faheem Ashraf, Fakhar Zaman, Haris Sohail, Hasan Ali, Imad Wasim, Junaid Khan, Mohammad Hafeez, Shadab Khan and Shoaib Malik.
Four other players selected for the World Cup are: Abid Ali, Imam-ul-Haq, 19-year-old Mohammad Hasnain and Shaheen Shah Afridi. Imam and Shaheen have featured in the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup 2014 and 2018, respectively.
The selectors have also named Asif Ali and Mohammad Amir for the England T20I and ODIs to be played in the lead up to the World Cup from 5-19 May. Mohammad Amir was also part of the ICC Champions Trophy winning squad, and the two players will also serve as cover for the World Cup squad and, if required, can be drafted into the side until 23 May without ICC permission.
The World Cup squad is a combination of three openers, four middle-order batsmen, wicketkeeper/batsman in Sarfaraz Ahmed, two spinners and five fast bowlers.
Chairman of Pakistan men’s selection committee and former captain, Inzamam-ul-Haq, said here the side had been picked according to the conditions and included reliable batters, trusted wicket-taking bowlers and dynamic fielders.
“In England and Wales, conditions play a critical role. With this in mind, we have selected a three-dimensional side, which gives the captain a wide range of options of whatever game plan he chooses on a match day,”he said adding :”We have experienced batters, who are backed up by bowlers with plenty of variety and variation to exploit any type of conditions”.
Inzama stated :”This is more or less the side we have been playing since the ICC Champions Trophy 2017. 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.”
Talking about his selections, Inzamam said: “While picking the side, we’ve tried to cover all bases by assessing our strengths as well as analysing each opponent, the match venues and the event format.
“Hafeez has not played any cricket for the past 10-odd weeks, but he has always featured in our plans. Although his inclusion in the World Cup squad is subject to fitness, yesterday we got a boost when he started playing with tennis ball with his doctor confirming he will be available for selection for the series against England. Our World Cup opener is on 31 May against the Windies, which is still six weeks away, and we are confident he will be fully fit and ready to display his vast international experience “,said the chief selector.
“Abid Ali and Mohammad Hasnain have been selected after they cleared their fitness tests at the National Cricket Academy on Thursday morning “,he said adding :” Abid is the third opener in the side, and has earned a place following a string of high scores, including a magnificent century on debut against Australia last month. Hasnain has been selected due to his sheer pace and speed. He may not have played many ODIs but he has already made an impact by making the top batsmen hop and run in his brief career while also picking up wickets “.
Commenting of selection of Shoaib malik and Muhammad Hafeez and other players he said “Shoaib and Hafeez have played in World Cups before (Malik 2007, Hafeez 2007 and 2011), which makes them experienced and qualified to provide the required stability to the middle-order. The exuberance of Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq and Babar Azam make them the most exciting, talented and entertaining top-three in the world. Sarfaraz is a proven-performer with the bat who has played a number of crucial knocks for Pakistan and his presence further strengthens the middle-order “,he said.
“In Imad Wasim, Shadab Khan, Hasan Ali, Faheem Ashraf, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Junaid Khan and Mohammad Hasnain, Pakistan has probably the most attacking and lethal bowling unit, which has variation and variety to take wickets and keep the opponents under pressure,”he asserted.
“For the T20I and ODIs against England, we have added Asif Ali and Mohammad Amir as additional players. Asif is probably the best power-hitter in Pakistan, while Amir has the experience and a good record in England. These two will provide cover to the World Cup squad and can be drafted into the side by 23 May, if required”, said Inzamam.
The England-bound players will hold training sessions at the Gaddafi Stadium on 20 and 21 April, before departing for London in the wee hours of 23 April. At 115pm on 22 April, Pakistan captain Sarfaraz Ahmed and coach Mickey Arthur will hold their departure media conferences at the Gaddafi Stadium.
Pakistan squad for ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2019:
Sarfaraz Ahmed (wicketkeeper, captain), Abid Ali , Babar Azam, Faheem Ashraf, Fakhar Zaman, Haris Sohail, Hasan Ali, Imad Wasim, Imam-ul-Haq Junaid Khan, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Hasnain, Shadab Khan, Shaheen Shah Afridi and Shoaib Malik.
Additional players for England T20I and ODIs: Asif Ali, Mohammad Amir.
The following is the Pakistan cricket team’s schedule of England:
Series – England
27 April – v Kent (50-over practice match) (d)
29 April – v Northamptonshire (50-over match) (d)
1 May – v Leicestershire (T20 match) (d/n)
5 May – v England (only T20I), Cardiff (d)
8 May – 1st ODI v England, The Oval (d/n)
11 May – 2nd ODI v England, Hampshire (d)
14 May – 3rd ODI v England, Bristol (d/n)
17 May – 4th ODI v England, Trent Bridge (d/n)
19 May – 5th ODI v England, Leeds (d)
ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2019 schedule
24 May – v Afghanistan (warm-up), Bristol (d)
26 May – v Bangladesh (warm-up), Cardiff (d)
31 May – v Windies, Trent Bridge (d)
3 June – v England, Trent Bridge (d)
7 June – v Sri Lanka, Bristol (d)
12 June – v Australia, Taunton (d)
16 June – v India, Old Trafford (d)
23 June – v South Africa, Lord’s (d)
26 June – v New Zealand, Edgbaston (d)
29 June – v Afghanistan, Headingley (d)
5 July – v Bangladesh, Lord’s (d/n)