Pakistan will announce its squad for the 2019 Men’s ICC Cricket World Cup on Thursday, April 18. After the 5-0 Test against Australia, however, there are questions that need to be answered. Do they have to say.
The Australian series offered Pakistan a chance to test its bank’s strength. Fakhar Zaman, one of the regular openers, was rested, while Imam-ul-Haq played only three of the five games. Shan Masood and Abid Ali were replaced – both made their debut with the ODI – and they were decent.
Masood scored half a century in the final ODI, though he composed only 111 in four ODIs. Meanwhile, Abid scored a brilliant 112 in one of his two games. However, Abid reportedly failed the yo-yo fitness test, potentially jeopardizing his place in the World Cup team. Will Pakistan just take it into shape?
When Pakistan announced its 23-member World Cup chances, there were remarkable omissions. The experienced Wahab Riaz was one of them. Wahab has not played any ODI since 2017, but his form at ICC tournaments can not be ignored. The ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2015 continues to speak in awe of his rage against Shane Watson in the quarter-finals.
Most recently, he finished as the third highest wicket taker in the Pakistan Super League with 17 wickets in 13 games. That said, Wahab’s form in England must be considered – it’s less than impressive. In the eight ODIs he has played there, he is an average of 99.5, with only four wickets to be shown.
Among the pacemakers are Hasan Ali, one of her more experienced Paceman, and Shaheen Shah Afridi, the animated boy, automatic picks. Mohammad Hasnain, who is supported by both coach Mickey Arthur and the legendary Wasim Akram, also seems to be ready for a call.
The question is, who is chosen between Junaid Khan and Mohammad Amir? Junaid’s main problem is his fitness. Constant injury has been an obstacle, but when he plays he is imposing and a threat. What will benefit Junaid is the fact that he has played for Lancashire in County Cricket, and his experience of English conditions could be crucial.
Then there is Amir. Amir has been struggling since the ICC Champions Trophy in 2017 – he is shaky in nine of the 14 ODIs he has played ever since. Fitness is also a concern. The potential and quality of Amir are well known, and for the selectors it will be a battle between form and pedigree.
One of the biggest problems of Pakistan, which became obvious after the abuses by Australia, was the lack of Powerhitters. Pakistan struggled to break the 300-run mark, even though Australia was gaining momentum in death.
While the Pakistani opener laid a solid foundation, there was no one who had that goal. Their only hope for now is Asif Ali, who did not play the Australian series. If he does not pass the fitness test or gets injured during the tournament, Pakistan may have trouble.
Pakistan won the Champions Trophy two years ago on the back of all-round, spirited performances. In the semifinals, they faced England in favorite football. Then the archrival India crashed in the final with a mammoth run of 180, the biggest victory after runs in the final of an ICC ODI event. How much will this performance increase you when you return to England for the World Cup?