The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has announced the 15-member squad, which will travel to Australia for the ICC T20 World Cup next month. The team received a mixed response from the fans. Some were delighted over Shaheen Afridi’s return but had concerns about a few players.
Some noticeable inclusions are Shan Masood, who earned his maiden T20I call-up, while Shaheen Afridi made a comeback despite not being declared fit. Mohammad Wasim Jr., who was ruled out of the Asia Cup due to injury, has been added to the team.
The 21-year-old Haider Ali is back in the mix after almost a year. Fakhar Zaman, who sustained an injury but will travel as a reserve, along with Shahnawaz Dahani. Seamer Hasan Ali also misses out from the 15-member list. The article will focus on the strengths, weaknesses, players to watch out for, and the schedule of the Men in Green for the upcoming tournament.
The biggest strength for the Men in Green is their seam bowling. Shaheen Afridi, Haris Rauf, and Naseem Shah are a force to reckon with. Pakistan missed Afridi badly at the Asia Cup, but his return makes their bowling line-up one of the strongest in the tournament. Another strength for Pakistan are the openers Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan. Mohammad Rizwan, in particular, is one of the players to watch out for, given his form at the Asia Cup 2022.
The wicket-keeper batsman was the highest run-getter at the Asia Cup 2022. He amassed 281 runs, laced with 21 fours and six sixes. On the other hand, Babar, who struggled for runs, scored 68 in six innings. But a player of Babar’s caliber cannot be taken lightly by any opposition.
Given the skillset and records, the Pakistani skipper will come out of his dry spell soon. The third strength for Pakistan are their all-rounders, Mohammad Nawaz and Shadab Khan. Both spinners have done well with the ball and contributed with runs when needed.
Pakistan’s biggest weakness is its middle-order. Fakhar Zaman, Khushdil Shah, and Iftikhar Ahmed were a flop at the Asia Cup. While Zaman is out of the T20 World Cup with an injury, the team selection was criticized for a weak middle-order line-up. Shoaib Akhtar and Inzamam-ul-Haq, raised their voices in unison, demanding changes in the middle order.
However, neither the selectors nor the players have shown any improvement. Another worrying factor for Pakistani players is their strike rate. Rizwan, who was The Men in Green’s highest run scorer, was questioned for his slow strike rate.
Further, Iftikhar Ahmed also received fans’ flak for striking the ball at a low rate. Another worrying area for Pakistan are their skipper Babar Azam’s form.
Babar Azam would be under pressure to score runs. Additionally, there have been demands to remove him as a captain. Such outside noise can impact a player’s game, and Pakistan would be hoping for Babar to come back to form soon. Pakistan’s squad lacks a back-up opener and a wicket-keeper. They only have Rizwan.
Players to watch out for
The world’s number one T20 batsman Rizwan is renowned for his impressive batting in T20Is. He is expected to be among runs, given the form he is in at the moment.
There are concerns over Afridi’s match fitness, but the left-arm seamer would be a lethal option on Australia’s bouncy pitches. Afridi’s in-swinging deliveries would be a treat to watch.
October 23 – India vs Pakistan, 1:30 pm, Melbourne Cricket Ground
October 27 – Pakistan vs Group B Winner, 4:30 pm, Perth Stadium
October 30 – Pakistan vs Group A Runner-up, 12:30 pm, Perth Stadium
November 3 – Pakistan vs South Africa, 1:30 pm, Sydney Cricket Ground
November 6 – Pakistan vs Bangladesh, 9:30 am, Adelaide Oval
Pakistan squad for T20 World Cup 2022
Babar Azam (c), Shadab Khan (VC), Asif Ali, Haider Ali, Haris Rauf, Iftikhar Ahmed, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan, Mohammad Wasim Jr., Naseem Shah, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Shan Masood, Usman Qadir.
Travelling reserves: Fakhar Zaman, Shahnawaz Dahani, Mohammad Haris.