Pakistan cricket selectors on Thursday named a 15-player squad for the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2019, which included 11 players from the side that won the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 in England and Wales.
Pakistan defeated India by 180 runs at The Oval on 18 June 2017 to become only the third country in the history of the game to win all four men’s ICC events – the ICC Cricket World Cup, the ICC Champions Trophy, the ICC T20 World Cup and the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup. The other two sides to achieve the rare Golden Slam are India and the Windies.
Players retained from the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 winning party include: Sarfaraz Ahmed (captain), Babar Azam, Faheem Ashraf, Fakhar Zaman, Haris Sohail, Hasan Ali, Imad Wasim, Junaid Khan, Mohammad Hafeez, Shadab Khan and Shoaib Malik.
Four other players selected for the World Cup are: Abid Ali, Imam-ul-Haq, 19-year-old Mohammad Hasnain and Shaheen Shah Afridi. Imam and Shaheen have featured in the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup 2014 and 2018, respectively.
The selectors have also named Asif Ali and Mohammad Amir for the England T20I and ODIs to be played in the lead up to the World Cup from 5-19 May. Mohammad Amir was also part of the ICC Champions Trophy winning squad, and the two players will also serve as cover for the World Cup squad and, if required, can be drafted into the side until 23 May without ICC permission.
The World Cup squad is a combination of three openers, four middle-order batsmen, wicketkeeper/batsman in Sarfaraz Ahmed, two spinners and five fast bowlers.
Wicket-keeper batsman Sarfaraz Ahmed will lead Pakistan in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 and where he bats has been a question on everyone’s mind.
Speaking to Geo News, Ahmed revealed that he has decided to bat at No 5. The right-handed batsman has scored 1,942 runs in 101 ODIs with an average of 31.91.
In the 10 ODIs where he has come in at No 5, Ahmed has scored 427 runs. The skipper believes that his decision to bat at this spot is a wise one and would benefit the team.
Pakistan chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq has said that captain Sarfraz Ahmed will bat in the middle order during the World Cup as he is capable of playing crucial knocks.
Sarfraz’s batting has been a concern as of late as he has struggled to muster large scores. Despite Sarfraz’s issues with the bat, Inzamam is backing him to play a pivotal role during the World Cup.
“Sarfraz is a proven performer with the bat who has played a number of crucial knocks for Pakistan and his presence further strengthens the middle order,” Inzamam was quoted as saying by PakPassion.
Pakistan will begin their World Cup campaign against West Indies on May 31 followed by matches against England (June 3) and Sri Lanka (June 7).
The team will then play Australia (June 12) before facing arch-rivals India (June 16) in Manchester.
Pakistan will then travel to London to play South Africa (June 23) at Lord’s, followed by matches against New Zealand (June 26), Afghanistan (June 29) and Bangladesh (July 5).
The Pakistan Cricket team will reach England at least five weeks before it formally kicks off its campaign in ICC Cricket World Cup 2019. The team will leave for England on April 23.
Pakistan’s schedule for England series:
April 27 – v Kent (50-over practice match)
April 29 – v Northamptonshire (50-over match)
May 1 – v Leicestershire (T20 match)
May 5 – v England (only T20I), Cardiff
May 8 – 1st ODI v England, The Oval
May 11 – 2nd ODI v England, Hampshire
May 14 – 3rd ODI v England, Bristol
May 17 – 4th ODI v England, Trent Bridge
May 19 – 5th ODI v England, Leeds
Pakistan’s World Cup 2019 schedule:
May 24 – v Afghanistan (warm-up), Bristol
May 26 – v Bangladesh (warm-up), Cardiff
May 31 – v Windies, Trent Bridge
June 3 – v England, Trent Bridge
June 7 – v Sri Lanka, Bristol
June 12 – v Australia, Taunton
June 16 – v India, Old Trafford
June 23 – v South Africa, Lord’s
June 26 – v New Zealand, Edgbaston
June 29 – v Afghanistan, Headingley
July 5 – v Bangladesh, Lord’s