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Wednesday, July 17, 2024  
11 Muharram 1446  

Pakistan bet on fast bowler Afridi to be fit for World Cup

Chief selector Muhammad Wasim says board receiving encouraging reports about pacer
Pacer Shaheen Afridi reacts during a match against Australia in ICC Men’s T20 World Cup at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on November 11, 2021. Image via Reuters/File
Pacer Shaheen Afridi reacts during a match against Australia in ICC Men’s T20 World Cup at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on November 11, 2021. Image via Reuters/File

Left-arm fast bowler Afridi was ruled out of the recently-concluded Asia Cup in the United Arab Emirates due to an injury despite being named in the preliminary squad by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).

Afridi has travelled to London for rehabilitation and the PCB said the 22-year-old is expected to join the Pakistan squad in Brisbane on Oct 15.

“We are receiving encouraging reports about Shaheen Shah Afridi, who is likely to resume bowling early next month,” said chief selector Muhammad Wasim.

Before travelling to Brisbane, Pakistan will play in a T20 international tri-series, including hosts New Zealand and Bangladesh, in Christchurch from Oct. 7-14.

Fast bowler Mohammad Wasim also returned to the World Cup squad after recovering fully from a side strain he suffered during the Asia Cup.

A knee injury, however, saw top-order batter Fakhar Zaman ruled out of the Babar Azam-led squad. Fakhar was instead named in the travelling reserves with Shan Masood included in the side for the shortest format for the first time.

“We have a team that can perform strongly in the… T20 World Cup. That’s why we have shown faith and confidence in almost the same set of players who have been part of the T20I squad post the 2021 World Cup in the UAE,” Muhammad Wasim added.

“We have invested in these cricketers and it is fair to them that they get the opportunity to show their mettle in the World Cup, an event for which they have been preparing and training hard.”

Former champions Pakistan will begin their T20 World Cup campaign with an Oct. 23 blockbuster against arch-rivals India in Melbourne.

Squad: Babar Azam (captain), Shadab Khan, Asif Ali, Haider Ali, Haris Rauf, Iftikhar Ahmed, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan, Mohammad Wasim, Naseem Shah, Shaheen Afridi, Shan Masood, Usman Qadir

In this 15-player World Cup squad, top-order batsman Shan Masood has been included in the side for the shortest format for the first time along with fast bowlers Mohammad Wasim Junior and Shaheen Shah Afridi, while Fakhar Zaman, Mohammad Haris and Shahnawaz Dahani have been named as the three travelling reserves.

Chief selector Muhammad Wasim said: “We have a team that can perform strongly in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2022. That’s why we have shown faith and confidence in almost the same set of players who have been part of the T20I squad post the 2021 World Cup in the UAE.”

Prior to their (Pakistan’s team) arrival in Brisbane on 15 October, New Zealand will host Bangladesh and Pakistan in a tri-series from October 6 to October 14, which will help finalize preparations for the ICC mega event.

In the previous seven mega events to date, Pakistan won the title in 2009 in England, reached the final in the 2007 edition and featured in the 2010, 2012 and 2021 semifinals, a record that makes them one of the most consistent sides in the format.

“These players have performed well since November 2021 and that’s why we have won nine out of our last 13 T20Is,” the chief selector added. We have invested in these cricketers and it is fair to them that they get the opportunity to show their mettle in the World Cup, an event for which they have been preparing and training hard.

The following is Pakistan vs Bangladesh and New Zealand (T20I tri-series) schedule:

  • October 7 – vs Bangladesh, Christchurch
  • October 8 – vs New Zealand, Christchurch
  • October 11 – vs New Zealand, Christchurch
  • October 13 – vs Bangladesh, Christchurch
  • October 14 – Final, Christchurch

Pakistan’s fixtures at ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Australia 2022:

  • October 23 – vs India, Melbourne
  • October 27 – vs winner Group B, Perth
  • October 30 – vs runner-up Group A, Perth
  • November 3 – vs South Africa, Sydney
  • November 6 – vs Bangladesh, Adelaide

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