The most important takeaways from Pakistan’s Cricket World Cup squad

With the exception of Naseem Shah’s injury, Pakistan’s roster for the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 was generally on the predicted lines.

The absence of Naseem is a significant setback for the Men in Green. The bowler injured himself during his team’s Super Four match against India at the Asia Cup, and he will be out for several months. Hasan Ali has taken his place.

Babar Azam, Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Mohammed Rizwan, Iftikhar Ahmed, Mohammed Haris, Salman Agha, and Saud Shakeel are among the hitters on the team.

The all-round spinners are Shadab Khan and Mohammed Nawaz. Another spin candidate is Usama Mir. Shaheen Shah Afridi, Haris Rauf, Hasan, and Mohammed Waseem make up the pace attack.

We examine the important takeaways from the squad named on September 22, 2023.

The emphasis is on continuity.
Despite certain players’ disappointing performances in the recently concluded Asia Cup, Pakistan’s selectors have refrained from making drastic changes. Pakistan’s favourite spinners continue to be Shadab (six wickets at 40.83 in the Asia Cup) and Nawaz (one wicket at 94 in the Asia Cup).

While revealing the World Cup squad to the press, Pakistan top selector Inzamam-ul-Haq backed the duo.

“Over the last two years, Shadab and Nawaz have played ODIs with us. True, they did not perform well [at the Asia Cup]. But we have complete faith in them. They’ve been with us for a long time and have always performed admirably.”

Abrar Ahmed, a mystery spinner who may have pushed the two for a spot, is a stand-by. Similarly, despite averaging 16.25 with the bat in the Asia Cup, opener Fakhar Zaman retains his spot.

Inzamam hoped for a better performance by the team in the World Cup.

“We’re hoping for better performances from them.” We had two terrible games, but our team was ranked first (in the ICC Men’s ODI Team Rankings).”

Selections for fast bowling in the face of injury
In addition to Naseem, other Pakistan pacers with injury concerns include Mohammed Hasnain and Ihsanullah. This has reduced the options accessible to Pakistan’s management.

During the press conference, Inzamam addressed this topic.

“There are a number of injury issues among fast bowlers,” he explained. “Like Hasnain, he had an injury and was operated on by doctors.” Ihsanullah recently underwent elbow surgery. Our quick bowling options are limited.”

These limits influenced the selection of Hasan Ali, who last played for Pakistan in an ODI in June 2022.

Using existing resources to address middle-of-the-road issues
Pakistan struggled with the ball in the middle overs of both Asia Cup matches against India. During the group stage, Ishan Kishan and Hardik Pandya put on a 138-run fifth-wicket stand in the middle overs. Virat Kohli and KL Rahul combined for 233 unbroken runs for the third wicket in the Super Four game.

Inzamam acknowledged that the team required their bowling to be effective in such scenarios.

“There’s no doubt that we’re struggling in the middle overs.” We must use bowlers who can take wickets for us.”

Nonetheless, Pakistan has generally supported the bowling squad that competed in the Asia Cup and has played for them in recent months. While unusual possibilities such as Abrar Ahmed and Zaman Khan are among the standbys, Pakistan has backed their regulars to deal with the issue of middle-overs.

All-round spinners are favored.
While Pakistan has Shadab and Nawaz as their main all-rounders, they also have part-time options who can flip the arm over if necessary. Salman has four ODI wickets, while Iftikhar has 12.

This means that a fast-bowling all-rounder like Faheem Ashraf has no place. Pakistan has replaced him with four real speed bowlers for their campaign.

Pakistan will play two warm-up games in the lead-up to the Cricket World Cup, against New Zealand and Australia, respectively. On October 6, they will face the Netherlands in the first round of the tournament in Hyderabad.