With under 5 weeks to go till the mega event, Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has announced Pakistan squad for ICC Cricket World Cup 2015. The announcement comes with a few surprises as the selectors try to put the best players the nation has got out there to compete in the mega event.
The Pakistan Cricket Team will be led by Misbah ul Haq. The men in greeen are eyeing their 2nd World Cup title. Two batsmen, Ahmed Shahzad and Mohammad Hafeez (Update: Hafeez has been dropped from the squad) were included as specialist openers. Nasir Jamshed, despite all speculations, was not able to make his place in the squad for much obvious reasons.
Sarfaraz Ahmed, who has recently shown tremendous talent during the series against Sri Lanka, Australia and New Zealand, has been named the wicket-keeper.
In the middle, there is the man with tons of cricketing experience, Younis Khan, along with Umar Akmal and Shoaib Maqsood.
Shahid Afridi has been placed in the team as an all-rounder, the other ones being Wahab Riaz and Haris Sohail. This is certainly going to be Afridi’s last World Cup as he has announced immediate retirement after the tournament.
There are some surprises in the bowling department. There is no Umar Gul, instead, the 30 year old Sohail Khan has been added to the squad.
The other named bowlers, as many were expecting, are Yasir Shah, Mohammad Irfan, Junaid Khan (Update: Junaid dropped due to injury), Eshasn Adil and Wahab Riaz.
Pakistan Squad for ICC Cricket World Cup 2015
Misbah ul Haq (captain), Ahmed Shehzad, Mohammad Hafeez, Sarfraz Ahmed, Younis Khan, Haris Sohail, Umar Akmal, Sohaib Maqsood, Shahid Afridi, Yasir Shah, Mohammad Irfan, Junaid Khan, Ehsan Adil, Sohail Khan, Wahab Riaz
Earlier, there were rumours of Shoaib Malik being added to the squad but the result turned out to be otherwise. It is surprising to have missed Fawad Alam and Umar Gul in the squad.
Talking to ESPN Cricinfo, Pakistan’s Chief Selector Moin Khan said:
“Shoaib Malik was being considered for the middle-order slot as we lost the bowling utility of Saeed Ajmal and Hafeez, but eventually, we preferred Haris Sohail as his recent performances and the added advantage of him being a left-hander put him ahead.”
On including Sohail Khan in the squad, he commented”
“Obviously Sohail’s inclusion is a surprise for all of you but this is a proof that we selectors do prefer the domestic performances. He had a good one-day tournament and this is the reward for all his hard work and performances.”
When asked about Nasir Jamshed and Fawad Alam being dropped from the squad, he explained the reason:
“Nasir Jamshed was discussed for the opening slot but we felt recent performances were important and hence couldn’t justify his selection. Fawad Alam also, unfortunately, could not make it into our team combination, but he is indeed is a fighter.”
Talking more about the openers he said:
“We have gambled having two openers but we have Sarfraz Ahmed as a back-up force. The nature of his game, his positivity, and the sort of shots he plays make him a solid prospect to bat higher if needed. We are very much clear in in our mind that we have the best two openers, with Sarfraz as a third option.”
Pakistan Team Management for ICC Cricket World Cup 2015:
Manager: Naveed Akram Cheema; Head Coach: Waqar Younis; Batting Coach: Grant Flower; Spin Bowling Coach: Mushtaq Ahmed; Fielding Coach/Trainer: Grand Luden; Physiotherapist: Brad Robinson; Assistant Manager: Shahid Aslam; Media Manager: Agha Akbar; Security officer: Col. (Retd) Muhammad Azam Khan; Analyst: Talha Butt