Lahore: Cricket Chief Selector Inzamamul Haq on Friday announced the 15-member Pakistan squad for the ICC World Cup 2023 on Friday, which notably includes bowler Hasan Ali, and excludes star pacer Naseem Shah, who was injured in the Asia Cup.
The World Cup, hosted by arch-rivals India, will begin on October 5. Pakistan’s first match is on Oct 6, against Netherlands at the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium in the Indian city of Hyderabad. Pakistan had a disappointing end to the Asia Cup with defeats to India and Sri Lanka. India went on to win the tournament. Ali was included in Shah’s stead after the latter injured his shoulder in the Asia Cup tie against India.
Haris Rauf, who was also injured in the same match, is part of the squad. Shaheen Afridi the pace spearhead of the side is in the squad.
Notable exclusions are bowlers Faheem Ashraf, who was part of the Asia Cup squad, and Mohammad Hasnain.
While answering a question regarding the selection of Ali, who has not played an ODI since June 2022, Inzamam stated that the medium-paced bowler was picked because of his experience with a new ball.
“Since Naseem is out, we needed a bowler who could bowl with a new ball and I think Hasan Ali is a very good choice in that regard.”
He added that Ali was a “team man” and his inclusion in the side would bring energy to the team.
Shedding light on Shah’s injury, the chief selector said the reports received by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) so far indicated that Shah would be on the sidelines even after the World Cup, which is why the pacer could not be picked.
The former skipper said the team composition is largely the same.
“I have not made any such changes. The team has been playing with this combination for the last two years and if I tried to disrupt the team within three weeks of my appointment that would not be okay,” Inzamam stated.
He added that the selection committee tried to pick experienced players “who can handle the enormity of the event”.
“We were looking for a player who has performed at the highest level and has played international tournaments, on that basis we picked Hasan Ali,” he said.
He stated that the board “has not shut the doors” for any player and anyone could be selected for the team given that they “perform well in the domestic circuit”.
“Pakistan’s domestic cricket performance is the main [criteria] for the selection,” Inzamam said.
“They played a test series there, then the Lankan Premier League, a series against Afghanistan and also Asia Cup matches. We wonder if spending such a long time in such conditions led to injuries to our bowlers as well as some batters,” Inzamam said.
“Pakistan was the number one ODI team before the World Cup. We have to keep our trust on these players.”
The pacer, Naseem Shah, took to his X account to confirm that he would not represent Pakistan in the World Cup.
“With a heavy heart, I’m sharing that I will not be part of this amazing team that will be representing our beloved country,” Naseem said.
“While I’m disappointed, I believe everything is in Allah’s hands. Inshallah will be on the field very soon,” he added.
Babar Azam (captain), Shadab Khan (vice-captain), Abdullah Shafique, Fakhar Zaman, Haris Rauf, Hasan Ali, Iftikhar Ahmed, Imamul Haq, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan, (wicketkeeper) Mohammad Wasim, Agha Salman, Saud Shakeel, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Usama Mir
Reserve Squad: Mohammad Haris, Abrar Ahmed, Zaman Khan