The much-awaited announcement came out on Thursday evening. The squad for Pakistan’s campaign in the 2019 Men’s Cricket World Cup was announced, bringing an end to speculations over who would make the cut. With a few expected names and a few surprises, the squad was ‘three dimensional’ as described by the chief selector Inzamam ul Haq.
It needs to be noted however that this squad is provisional. The upcoming series against England could lead to the axe being wielded and new names being brought in. Let’s see what the current squad looks like.
Sarfraz Ahmed (Captain, Wicketkeeper)
No surprises here. He would however need to up his batting game for Pakistan to fare well. He does boast of a century at Lords and a match winning innings against Sri Lanka in the champions trophy. The key would be the spot he bats on. It should ideally be in the top five.
There was speculation over his selection with many saying he would miss out due to a failed fitness test. Despite his century on debut, his is a surprise selection. His century in the final of the Pakistan cup seems to have gone in his favour immensely. Let’s hope he delivers on the promise associated with him. His potential wicket keeping skills may have helped his case as well.
Probably the most automatic selection out of the lot. While his ODI career till now boasts of good numbers, his performance in England has not been at par with his performances elsewhere. He does still however hold the key for our batting’s success.
His arrival in international cricket saw a lot of talk over his power hitting ability. While this is yet to be realized it seems to have still played a key role in his selection. His bowling record is not too great either at the moment with 19 wickets in 20 matches at an average of 31.5. He boats of a decent economy rate of 4.56 though. Let’s hope he can fill in the oft felt gap of a fast bowling all-rounder.
Another automatic selection to the side. His success at the top of the order would be a key driver of our campaign. His technique has often been found wanting but he likes pace on the ball which he will likely get in England. Here’s to hoping for a repeat of his fantastic Champions Trophy campaign.
There has never been doubt over his talent or his technique. There were however doubts over his fitness and his ability to play big innings. While his knee is likely to always keep a question mark hanging on his fitness, he did show the ability to play long innings in the recently concluded series against Australia. He along with Babar Azam would make a strong number 3 and 4 for Pakistan.
Another automatic selection to the side. His pace and aggression are pivotal to Pakistan’s success. His great fitness has been highlighted time and again and his batting has been handy as well at times. Here’s to hoping we get to see the ‘generator’ style celebration multiple times.
P.s. Hasan Ali still maintains its not a generator.
His fitness has been a pressing concern as of late, he however provides a necessary balance to the side. His power hitting ability has blossomed recently and his bowling has often helped in keeping runs in check in the power play. While his batting average of 47.57 overstates his batting ability and his bowling average of 42.51 understates his bowling ability, he is a key player in the squad.
Imam ul Haq
A solid technique and a calm head, the chants of ‘parchi’ that follow him couldn’t be more unfair. He’s had a great start to his ODI career and his selection should have never been doubtful. With Fakhar he forms a decent opening partnership at the top. His man of the series award against South Africa in the recent ODI series is a testament to his ability and he is one of the key players in the side.
Truly deserving of a place in the team. The surprise was that he got selected at all given he’s been unfairly ignored on multiple occasions in the past. His experience of English conditions and ability with the new ball seem to have gotten him the nod from the selectors.
Playing his last world cup, his experience has gotten him a place in the squad. His bowling ability has withered away due to constant changes to his bowling action and his batting has often been found wanting in England. His selection was under question, but he’s gotten the nod. Let’s hope the professor gives out the right lessons.
Surprise selection and a risky bet. His ability to bowl fast alone has gotten him in. With only 3 list A matches (all 3 against Australia in the recent series), he’s been ultra-fast tracked into the big league. Inzamam has called him our surprise package for the tournament. The upcoming series against England would be one where he can settle questions over his selection.
Another automatic selection. There are many things to like about this young player. Great spinner, decent batsman, good fielder and a true team man. Shadab is touted by many as a future captain. For now, he would have to let his performance do the talk. Another successful review against India would be ideal!
Shaheen Shah Afridi
With just 10 ODIs under his belt, he is an automatic selection to the squad. He brings pace, aggression, swing and good yorkers to the table. A typical young Pakistani tearaway, the team would be relying heavily on him to deliver.
Another debatable selection mainly due to his below par recent performances, Shoaib Malik has made it to the side on the back of his experience alone. Also playing his last world cup, Malik would look to finish his career on a high. He needs to bring back his ability of finishing matches and delivering under pressure and needs to bring the spring back to his off spinners as well.
Mohammad Amir and Asif Ali
Both have been added to the squad for the series against England. A good performance could see them staying on and not return at the end of May. Dropping Amir was a brave decision. While his performance since the 2017 Champions Trophy final has been extremely below par, the promise he brings has still held him in contention. Asif Ali on the other hand seems to be the only genuine big hitter in the domestic circuit as of late which has kept him in contention as well. Ability to score big at the end of the innings has been a major opportunity for Pakistan and he provides potential to bridge it.
Mohammad Rizwan (painful one), Usman Shinwari, Wahab Riaz and Umar Akmal.
Best of luck to the team! Here’s to hoping that we rule the world again! Lack of big hitters is likely to hurt us badly.