Lahore, 22 September 2023: Pakistan faced a major setback with the exclusion of fast bowler Naseem Shah from their ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 scheduled for October and November in India. Pakistan has announced its 15-player squad for the upcoming ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup, the selection committee, led by Inzamam-ul-Haq, prioritized consistency and confidence in the current squad, making just one change, which was necessitated, from the team that participated in the recent Men’s ODI Asia Cup 2023.
Fast bowler Naseem Shah’s spot in the lineup has been taken by Hasan Ali. Naseem sustained a shoulder injury during the Asia Cup in a match against India on September 11, leading to his withdrawal from the tournament. After comprehensive medical evaluations and consultations with prominent medical specialists, it has been recommended that Naseem undergo surgery. His anticipated recovery period is estimated to be three to four months.
Pakistan squad: Babar Azam (captain), Shadab Khan (vice-captain), Abdullah Shafique, Fakhar Zaman, Haris Rauf, Hasan Ali, Iftikhar Ahmed, Imam-ul-Haq, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Mohammad Wasim Jnr, Salman Ali Agha, Saud Shakeel, Shaheen Shah Afridi and Usama Mir.
The selectors have also named three traveling reserves in wicketkeeper-batter Mohammad Haris, mystery spinner Abrar Ahmed and fast bowler Zaman Khan.
Chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq said: “World Cup is the most important event in any cricketer’s life and I want to congratulate all the cricketers who have made it to the squad through their impressive performances. This team has performed wonderfully well over the last couple of years and that is why we have shown faith in the same bunch.
“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. 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.
“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.”
Pakistan will play two warm-up games, against New Zealand and Australia respectively, in the lead up to the Cricket World Cup. They begin their tournament journey against Netherlands on 6 October in Hyderabad.
Babar Azam’s side enters the mega-event as the number one ranked side and enjoys the best win/loss ratio of 2.400 in this World Cup cycle for any side that has played the One-Day International format.
Pakistan missed out on a semi-final spot in the 2019 iteration of the event because of a lower net run-rate to New Zealand, who ended up as runners-up. The team’s best performance came in the 1992 edition when they lifted the trophy at the MCG after defeating England. Pakistan featured in the final of the 1999 edition and reached semi-finals in 1979, 1983, 1987, and 2011.