Amir, Riaz, Asif included in Pakistan squad for 2019 World Cup

Junaid, Ashraf and Abid have been dropped from the side

Amir, Riaz, Asif included in Pakistan squad for 2019 World Cup PHOTO: AFP

The national selection committee, headed by Chief Selector Inzamamul Haq, has made three changes to Pakistan’s 2019 International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cup squad, after consultation with team management.

According to details, after a disappointing one-day international (ODI) series against England, which Pakistan lost 4-0, the team management and selection committee has decided to make a few changes to the World Cup squad, in order to strengthen the Men in Green side ahead of the mega event.

The players who are sent back home include opener Abid Ali, who played in only the fifth ODI of the series against England, all-rounder Faheem Ashraf, who struggled with, both, bat and ball during the series, and pacer Junaid Khan.

Their replacements include veteran pacer Mohammad Amir, middle-order batsman Asif Ali, who scored two fifties during the series against England. Left-arm pacer Wahab Riaz has also been included in the squad.

Speaking about Amir’s selection, Inzamam said: “We decided to go with him because other bowlers, Ashraf and Junaid with relatively low speeds, will be ineffective on the surfaces used during the World Cup. Amir can make good use of his good line and length and pace.”      

It must be noted that Riaz was not even part of Pakistan’s 23-man probables squad, which consequently meant that he did not pass the fitness test as well.

“Wahab will be ideal on the current nature of pitches in England as they will assist fast-bowlers,” said Inzamam while justifying his selection of Riaz. 

Inzamam also spoke about the importance of having experienced campaigners like all-rounders Mohammad Hafeez and Shoaib Malik in the side.

“Malik and Hafeez are experienced and important to our team combination,” he said. “They will add value to the side, in terms of, both, bowling and batting.”

The former Pakistan batsman was also optimistic about team’s chances, despite a poor series against England.

“We are hopeful that team will put up a good show during the World Cup and not repeat the mistakes made during the England series,” he said.

Leg-spinner Yasir Shah will also return home as his fellow leg-spinner Shadab Khan has also recovered from the virus, he suffered before the beginning of England tour.

The 2019 World Cup is scheduled to begin on May 30, 2019 in England and Wales, while Pakistan will play their first match of the tournament against Windies on May 31.

Pakistan squad

Sarfaraz Ahmed (C), Fakhar Zaman, Imamul Haq, Asif Ali, Babar Azam, Haris Sohail, Shoaib Malik, Mohammad Hafeez, Shadab Khan, Wahab Riaz, Imad Wasim, Mohammad Amir, Hasan Ali, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Mohammad Hasnain.