Pakistan pick Mohammad Amir, Asif Ali and Wahab Riaz for World cup


Pakistan have sprung a surprise by bringing back pacers Mohammad Amir and Wahab Riaz to the ODI fold for the World Cup as they announced their final 15-man squad on Monday (May 20). Both Amir and Wahab did not initially feature in the provisional squad. Apart from the two seamers, batsman Asif Ali has also been included on expected lines in order to provide firepower in the middle order.

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Abid Ali, Junaid Khan and Faheem Ashraf, who were named in the initial squad, will make way for the trio. While announcing the final squad, chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq also mentioned that legspinner Shadab Khan has received a 100% clearance to play in the tournament. Veteran Mohammad Hafeez, whose participation was subject to fitness, has also been included in the squad.

“As far as Amir is concerned, we never discarded him,” Inzamam pointed out. “We now want to take a bowler who brings a bit of experience and the previous knowledge of having bowled in English conditions.”

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Initially discarded following the emergence of Hasnain, Amir has forced his way back in with the likes of Junaid and Faheem getting hit for plenty of runs in the ODI series against England. Junaid had conceded 57 runs off eight overs and 85 runs off ten overs in the two ODIs he played. In the tour game ahead of the ODIs, he gave away 79 in ten overs and these figures prompted the selectors to bring back the experienced left-arm pacers, according to Inzamam.

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Wahab, who impressed in the 2015 World Cup, has not played limited-overs cricket for Pakistan for almost two years now. The 33-year-old’s most recent appearance in the 50-over format came in the 2017 Champions Trophy group stage encounter against India.

“The bowling unit during the England ODIs has not clicked as anticipated or expected,” Inzamam said. “If we have at our disposal two vastly experienced pace duo of Amir and Wahab, then it will be foolish not to include them.”

Squad: Sarfraz Ahmed (c), Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Babar Azam, Shoaib Malik, Mohammad Hafeez, Asif Ali, Shadab Khan, Imad Wasim, Haris Sohail, Hasan Ali, Shaheen Afridi, Mohammad Amir, Wahab Riaz, Mohammad Hasnain