Mon, 27 May 2019

Pacer Mohammad Amir, the hero of Pakistan's previous triumph in an ICC tournament, will not play the World Cup in England as things stand. He was not part of the 15 named by the PCB on Thursday for the showpiece event. Left-arm pacer Usman Shinwari also missed out. Another significant name missing from the 15 was power-hitter Asif Ali.

Amir will, however, travel to England for the preceding ODI series against England. His non-inclusion for the World Cup should come as no surprise, going purely by the numbers. Since that stunning showing in the final of the Champions Trophy final - incidentally, also in England - he has taken five ODI wickets in 101 overs of bowling at an average of 92.60 per wicket, the worst numbers among all bowlers to have sent down over 600 balls in this period.

The deadline to announce squads is April 23, but teams can make changes till May 23 without seeking permission from the ICC's event technical committee. ESPNcricinfo understands the April 23 date was put in place to allow the ICC to proceed with logistics like hotel and flight bookings.

Before the World Cup, Pakistan travel to England for a one-off T20 and five ODIs. Amir apart, the other addition the the World Cup squad for the England series is Asif Ali. Asif has 200 runs in the eight ODI innings he has played for Pakistan in the lower-middle order, with a highest of 50 not out and, importantly, a strike rate of 130.71. One could argue he is one of the few power-hitting options for Pakistan at the moment, but there remained the question of balance to the XI should he have been included for the World Cup.

Hafeez has been picked in the World Cup 15 subject to fitness; he is still recovering from the surgery he had on his right thumb after picking up an injury while fielding in the Pakistan Super League in mid-February.

Squad for the World Cup: Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Abid Ali, Babar Azam, Shoaib Malik, Mohammad Hafeez (subject to fitness), Sarfaraz Ahmed (capt & wk), Shadab Khan, Imad Wasim, Hasan Ali, Faheem Ashraf, Shaheen Afridi, Junaid Khan, Mohammad Hasnain, Haris Sohail

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