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Pakistan announce World Cup squad

Hasan Ali replaces injured Naseem Shah for the mega tournament

LAHORE: Pakistan have named their 15-player squad for the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup, which will be held in October and November in India.

The national selection committee, headed by former Test captain Inzamamul Haq, made only one change to the squad that featured in the Asia Cup.

The one change was also a forced one as fast bowler Naseem Shah has been ruled out of cricket for a few months. Naseem has been replaced with Hasan Ali for the World Cup.

Naseem had suffered a shoulder injury during the Asia Cup match against India on September 11 and was ruled out of the tournament. Following thorough medical examinations and consultations with leading medical experts, the right-arm pacer has been advised to undergo surgery. He is expected to recover in three to four months.

Star batter Babar Azam will continue to captain the side while leg-spinner Shadab Khan will be his deputy.

The selectors have also named three travelling reserves in wicketkeeper-batter Mohammad Haris, mystery spinner Abrar Ahmed and fast bowler Zaman Khan.

Chief selector Inzamam 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 matches – against New Zealand on September 29 and Australia on October 3 – before their tournament opener against the Netherlands on October 6.

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.

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