Out-of-form Amir unlikely to feature in World Cup 2019 squad

Pacer has bagged only five wickets since the ICC Champions Trophy in 2017

Out-of-form Amir unlikely to feature in World Cup 2019 squad PHOTO: AFP

Pakistan are likely to leave out pacer Mohammad Amir from the International Cricket Council (ICC) 2019 World Cup squad, on back of his poor performances in the recent past.

According to Daily Express, Head Coach Mickey Arthur has lost faith in the 26-year-old fast-bowler and is considering other options, along with team management, for the final fast-bowling slot.    

Although sources also stated that some people, who are close to the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), are trying to pull a few strings in order to ensure that Amir is part of the World Cup squad. 

Amir, 26, has been struggling to take wickets, having bagged just five wickets in 14 one-day international (ODI) matches since the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 final in June.

He went for 59 runs in his nine wicketless overs during the first ODI against Australia on Friday and was subsequently left out of the playing line-up for the remainder of the series.

The only confirmed names in Pakistan’s fast-bowling contingent, for the mega event, are Hasan Ali and Shaheen Shah Afridi.

For the third pacer slot, there is a tight race between Junaid Khan, Usman Khan Shinwari and Mohammad Abbas, although it is likely that Shinwari will get the nod ahead of his fellow pacers.

Young pacer Mohammad Hasnain has also risen in the pecking order due to his raw pace, despite claiming just two wickets in three matches during the recently concluded ODI series against Australia in UAE. The team management believes that he will be a good choice, keeping in mind English conditions.

As far as Pakistan’s top-order batting is concerned, 31-year-old Abid Ali’s chances of making the cut are high if he passes the fitness test. Ali impressed with a century on debut during the fourth ODI of the series against Australia.

Left-handed batsman Shan Masood is likely to be selected as backup opener, in case Ali does not get the approval of the selectors.

Interestingly, sources have revealed, Pakistan are also thinking down the lines of opening with Haris Sohail, instead of the usual pairing of Fakhar Zaman and Imamul Haq. The reasoning behind this development is to push captain Sarfaraz Ahmed to number four position in the batting order. 

PCB is also planning on sending four reserve players to England but they won’t be training along with the national side, during the World Cup. They will be called up, if and when required.

One of these reserve players would be wicketkeeper-batsman Mohammad Rizwan, who scored two centuries during Australia ODIs, as the selection committee does not think that he is a viable option to be solely included as a batsman. The team management does not feel the need for a backup wicketkeeper, for Sarfaraz, as well for the World Cup.

The national selection committee has named 23 probables, ahead of the mega event, for the fitness test, which will be held at the National Cricket Academy in Lahore on April 15 and 16. The squad for World Cup 2019 will be announced on April 18 in Lahore.