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Sunday, December 15News That Matters

Pakistan Prepares For Cricket World Cup 2019

Once again this summer the stage is set for ICC World Cup 2019. The teams are pumped and the cities of England and Wales keep the excitement high as they prepare to host the biggest Cricket event of the year. Here we take a glance at how the Pakistan Squad for cricket world cup 2019 shape up

After a successful PSL 4, Pakistan team flew to UAE in a week’s time to play a 5 match ODI series against the mighty Aussies prior to ICC World Cup 2019. The key players of the Pakistan team were rested while players like Harris Sohail, Shan Masood, Usman Shinwari, Junaid Khan, Yasir Shah, Mohammad Abbas, Umer Akmal and Muhammad Rizwan were all given a chance to prove their worth if they want to make it to ICC World Cup 2019 squad. Youngsters Saad Ali and Muhammad Hasnain were also given the green light for this series to showcase their talents, while 31 year old opener Abid Ali also travelled with the team for the first time. This squad selection, PCB declared is a test run before the mega event of ICC.

Despite putting on a good batting performance, Australia whitewashed Pakistan with a 5-0 series victory to clinch the series but Pakistan Board came out victorious in their plans and had a clear image of what to do next.

On 4th of April, via media statement PCB announced list of 23 players who were called up for Fitness test on 15th and 16th of April at National Cricket academy in Lahore.
The list contained the names of Sarfaraz Ahmed, Shoaib Malik, Muhammad Amir, Muhammad Hafeez, Muhammad Abbas, Muhammad Rizwan, Muhammad Hasnain, Muhammad Nawaz, Shaheen Afridi, Usman Shinwari, Shan Masood, Asif Ali, Fakhar Zaman, Babar Azam, Harris Sohail, Faheem Ashraf, Hassan Ali, Shadab Khan, Yasir Shah, Imad Wasim, Abid Ali and Imam Ul Haq. Later on Ahmed Shehzad, Wahab Riaz and Umer Akmal were also added to the list which will undergo a fitness test prior to ICC Cricket World Cup 2019.

Apparently Sarfaraz, Hafeez, Shoaib Malik, Shadab, Hassan Ali, Faheem Ashraf, Babar Azam and Shaheen Afridi are the ones who are confirmed for a spot in the squad.

The opening pair will most likely include Fakhar Zaman and Imam ul Haq. Fakhar will be preferred because of his decent performance in the ODIs and particularly his heroics in England back in Champions Trophy 2017, the same venue where ICC World Cup 2019 will be played. Imam ul Haq had an amazing PSL and has been scoring frequently in ODI which reflects his skills and strengthens his case for inclusion in the squad for World Cup.

In the middle order, Harris Sohail has well justified his talent and potential in the recent series scoring 272 runs with an average of 72.75. A batsman who knows the art of picking singles and has the temperament to play the anchor role during the innings will set well with Pakistani batting lineup keeping in mind Pakistan’s ICC world cup 2019 schedule.

Muhammad Rizwan, an agile batsman who can bat lower down the order and is an enthusiastic fielder behind the wickets will be a good addition to the Pakistani squad and can be added as the second wicket keeper.

All-rounder Imad Wasim, possesses the ability to contain the batsmen while bowling early overs accumulated with his power hitting down the order makes him a unique player who can be an asset to any team.

Muhammad Abbas and Yasir Shah, the pair have been amazingly successful in Test format, and won games for Pakistan, but both have struggled in 50 over game. It is pretty difficult for them to make it to the ICC World Cup 2019 Squad keeping in view their recent performance in UAE.

Young fast bowler Muhammad Hasnain and Abid Ali are also included after their debut series in UAE. The opener scored a ton on his debut while Hasnain showed his potential but both of these players lack first-team experience, which will put them at disadvantage.

Usman Shinwari and Muhammad Amir, the left arm fast bowlers are also unsure whether they will fly to England for the World Cup or not. Amir and Shinwari were just ordinary bowlers is PSL picking just 12 wickets each in 10 games. Still, Muhammad Amir have chances of being selected due to his standout performance in Champions Trophy 2017, while Usman Shinwari’s future is still up in the air regarding cricket world cup 2019.

Muhammad Nawaz, hold onto very bleak chances of getting into the final squad. The squad is already oozing with spin options like Hafeez, Imad, Shadab, Malik and Harris Sohail, which will make it difficult for Nawaz to make through.

Shan Masood is another batsman who will find hard to fly for World Cup. A quiet PSL and no notable performance against Australia have left the selectors unconvinced.

Ahmed Shehzad and Umer Akmal both had a great PSL but may be their time is well gone for the National team. Umer Akmal failed to convince with below par performance in UAE and moreover got himself into another controversy which weakened his chances. Ahmed Shahzad may have batted well but the opening slots are well taken by Fakhar and Imam, which will see him, miss the place in this World Cup squad.

Wahab Riaz, the 3rd best bowler of PSL was also added in the training camp squad but will probably not make it to cricket world cup 2019 as he is already 33 years old and more suitable for the T20’s than the 50 over cricket.

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