Chief Selector Inzamamul Haq at a press conference on Monday announced that fast bowler Mohammad Amir and pacer Wahab Riaz have made the final 15-man World Cup squad as the team seeks to “inject experience” into its bowling.
Both the players had been left off the initial squad named in April but the chief selector today said that some observations made during the team’s recent performance in England were taken into consideration when making the changes to the lineup.
Referring to the team’s stint in England, Inzamam said that the green shirts could have racked up 50-60 more runs ─ or restricted the other side to that many fewer runs ─ if they had improved their fielding and taken more catches.
He also explained that the “bowling unit during the England ODIs had not clicked as anticipated or expected”.
He said that the team needed bowlers familiar with reverse swing and using an old ball as they had realised in the series that such an ability would be effective.
“Wahab Riaz is an effective bowler. We have given him this opportunity,” Inzamam said.
He added: “Amir’s name was not in the squad earlier […] He is one of our senior bowlers and has a lot of experience in England conditions.”
Amir was not selected in the preliminary squad for the World Cup due to poor form, but after the Pakistan bowling attack’s drubbing in the first two England ODIs, critics pointed out Pakistan were missing Amir.
“If we have at our disposal two vastly experienced pace duo of Amir and Wahab, then it will be foolish not to include them,” Inzamam said.
Inzamam also said Abid Ali would be replaced by Asif Ali due to the latter’s solid batting performance in England.
“It was not an easy decision to replace Abid Ali […] But we wanted someone in that position who could nudge the run rate along,” the chief selector explained.
He added that Shadab Khan is also fit to play in the World Cup squad. Due to the latest changes, Junaid Khan, Faheem Ashraf and Abid Ali will be left off the squad.
Ashraf had been given chances in the five-match ODI series against England, while Abid has not been tested in any of the matches — including against county sides — in England so far.
15-man World Cup squad
- Fakhar Zaman
- Imamul Haq
- Asif Ali
- Mohammad Hafeez
- Babar Azam
- Sarfaraz Ahmed (captain)
- Haris Sohail
- Shoaib Malik
- Imad Wasim
- Shadab Khan
- Hasan Ali
- Shaheen Shah Afridi
- Mohammad Amir
- Wahab Riaz
- Mohammad Hasnain