Pakistan’s final 15-member squad for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 was announced on Monday by chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq.
Junaid Khan and Faheem Ashraf were dropped from the squad in favour of Mohammad Amir and Wahab Riaz. Asif Ali also replaced Abid Ali in the side. Shadab Khan who was unable to play in the series against England due to illness was retained in the squad.
Fast bowler Mohammad Amir included for the England series had been initially dropped from the World Cup squad. While he did not play in the ODI series against England, Amir has performed well in England in the past.
Commenting on the changes to the squad, Inzamam said no one could have foreseen the type of cricket which was played in England.
According to the chief selector, the conditions in England had shown that bowlers who knew how to use the old ball and reverse swing would be more effective and that’s why Wahab Riaz has been selected.
“Wahab Riaz has experience in this. He knows how to use the old ball and reverse swing. He is a senior bowler. We felt that our bowling was lacking due to experience.”
The chief selector said Wahab Riaz’s inclusion in the side did not reflect panic. “If we need a player for the betterment of the team I will not compromise…We did not see if he [Wahab Riaz] was in the list of 23 players but rather what the requirement of the team was.”
Inzamam added that Wahab Riaz had recently participated in the test match and his performance was different from when he was dropped. “He performed better in the domestic tournament.”
Fast bowler Mohammad Amir included for the England series had initially been dropped from the World Cup squad. While he did not play in the ODI series against England, Amir has performed well in England in the past.
Inzamam also attributed Mohammad Amir’s seniority as a primary reason for the fast bowler’s inclusion in the squad.
“He [Mohammad Amir] has vast experience of playing in England. He also has a good economy rate in England,” said Haq.
Pakistan were whitewashed by England in the ODI series in which the batting lineup performed but the bowling and fielding were disappointing.
Fast bowler Wahab Riaz spoke to media here on Tuesday, a day after being included in Pakistan’s final 15-member squad for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019.
Wahab Riaz told reporters who would bring the aggression he is known for to the side. “Pakistan as a team needs aggression. We have seen that there is batting paradise, as a bowler, if you are not aggressive the batsman will dominate you.”
Riaz stressed that in the present conditions in England, variations especially yokers were required in the death overs. “The team that does reverse swing well is going to have an advantage,” he added.
The left-arm seamer spoke about not being part of the national team and how that experience had left him disheartened.
“There are pressures and expectations. I was out of the team for the last two years and worked hard. I will try to fulfil everyone’s expectations.”
Wahab Riaz said despite not being included in the 23-member initial squad, he was prepared for the World Cup as it was his father’s wish that he plays in the tournament.
“After not being selected for the 23-member squad I would dream about being included. About 8-10 days ago I had a dream that Inzamam was telling me I was going to play the World Cup and this was my last chance. Then I got the call from him that I had been included in the squad.”
Pakistan squad for World Cup
Sarfaraz Ahmed (wicketkeeper and captain), Asif Ali, Babar Azam, Wahab Riaz, Fakhar Zaman, Haris Sohail, Hasan Ali, Imad Wasim, Imam-ul-Haq, Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Hasnain, Shadab Khan, Shaheen Afridi, Shoaib Malik