LAHORE: As the 2023 International Cricket Council (ICC) Men’s Cricket World Cup draws near, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) made an announcement on Friday regarding the team’s participating squad, which includes some of their star players.
Babar Azam is set to lead the team, with Shadab Khan retaining his position as vice-captain. An important change in the lineup is the inclusion of Hasan Ali, who has been called in to replace the injured pacer Naseem Shah. Notably, Ali is returning to one-day international (ODI) cricket after a year-long break following his last appearance against West Indies in Multan in 2022.
The squad was unveiled by Chief Selector Inzamam-ul-Haq at Lahore’s Gaddafi Stadium. Additionally, three traveling reserves were named: wicketkeeper-batter Mohammad Haris, mystery spinner Abrar Ahmed, and fast bowler Zaman Khan.
Inzamam-ul-Haq commented on the significance of the World Cup for cricketers, expressing congratulations to those who earned their spots through their impressive performances. He emphasized the team’s exceptional performance over the past couple of years, which is why they have retained faith in the same group of players.
The ICC World Cup 2023 is scheduled to take place in India, with 10 teams competing for the coveted title across 10 venues from October 5 to November 19. The tournament opener and final will be held at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad. The competition will follow a round-robin format, with all teams facing each other in 45 league matches. The top four teams will advance to the semi-finals, set to take place in Mumbai on November 15 and in Kolkata on November 16, with reserve days scheduled for the semi-finals and the final.
Inzamam expressed hope for Pakistan’s success in the tournament and urged the nation to support the Babar-led squad, emphasizing the need for backing and encouragement.
Pakistan is scheduled to play two warm-up matches, one against New Zealand on September 29 and another against Australia on October 3, before their tournament opener against the Netherlands on October 6.
Babar Azam’s team enters the mega-event as the number one ranked side and boasts the best win/loss ratio of 2.400 in this World Cup cycle among all teams that have participated in the One-Day International format. Pakistan narrowly missed a semi-final spot in the 2019 edition due to a lower net run-rate than New Zealand, who finished as runners-up. Pakistan’s best performance in the World Cup came in the 1992 edition when they secured the trophy at the MCG after defeating England. They also reached the final in 1999 and the semi-finals in 1979, 1983, 1987, and 2011.
The squad for the ICC World Cup 2023 includes:
Babar Azam (captain)
Shadab Khan (vice-captain)
Mohammad Rizwan (wicketkeeper)
Shaheen Shah Afridi
Reserve Squad for the ICC World Cup 2023: