Pakistani team with Wahab, Amir and Asif announced for World Cup

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LAHORE: Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on Monday included experienced fast bowlers Wahab Riaz and Mohammad Amir and hard-hitting batsman Asif Ali in the Pakistan’s final World Cup squad following a loss to England in the one-day series.

Hard-hitting batsman Asif Ali also made the World Cup team – at the expense of opening batsman Abid Ali – with his two half centuries against England. On Abid Ali, chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq said: “It has not been an easy decision to leave out Abid, particularly after he got only one opportunity on the tour. But, he was our third choice opener. After both the first choice openers struck early form, we preferred Asif Ali as he brings firepower to the team that can strengthen our chances in the tournament.

“Both our openers are in form and average over 50 each. If required, we have a fully fit Mohammad Hafeez who can be promoted in the batting order, while Haris Sohail can be another option,” the chief selector added.

Leg-spinner Shadab Khan has fully recovered from illness and replaced Yasir Shah, who was named as cover for Shadab for the one-day series against England. “The doctors have declared Shadab Khan fully fit and he also played a league match in England a couple of days back without any problem,” Inzamam said.

Wahab Riaz replaced all-rounder Faheem Ashraf while M Amir came in place of Junaid Khan as Pakistan made three changes to its originally announced World Cup squad. All teams can change their World Cup squads until May 23 without prior permission from the International Cricket Council (ICC). Pakistan lost the ODI series against England 4-0 with their bowlers leaking more than 300 runs in all four games.

Amir was part of the Pakistan’s 17-member squad in England but couldn’t play in any of the ODIs after getting chickenpox. “We realized after the series against England that wickets (during the World Cup) will be more true for batting and we need experienced bowlers,” said Inzamam.

Inzamam said Amir was also recalled purely on the basis of the left-armer’s ability to bowl well in English conditions. Amir has taken only five wickets in his last 14 ODIs since Pakistan won the Champions Trophy in England in 2017. “We couldn’t see him bowl during the series against England but he is a senior bowler,” Inzamam said and added: “He has a vast experience of bowling in English conditions and that’s why we have selected him.”

Pakistan squad:

Sarfraz Ahmed (captain), Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Babar Azam, Haris Sohail, Mohammad Hafeez, Shoaib Malik, Asif Ali, Imad Wasim, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Hasnain, Hasan Ali, Wahab Riaz, Shaheen Shah Afridi.