The Pakistan Cricket Board has announced its 15-member team for the 2023 ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup, confirming that an injured Naseem Shah will be on a lengthy layoff.
The tournament is set to begin in India on October 5, with Pakistan’s first match being on the next day against the Netherlands.
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Shah, 20, who has been a key player in Pakistan’s performance recently, is set to undergo surgery for a shoulder injury and has been replaced by Hasan Ali.
The blow to Shah’s shoulder ruled him out of the Asia Cup during Pakistan’s match with India on September 10 and is likely to push him to the sidelines for a few months.
“Unfortunately, the report we have from our doctors, we hear Naseem will be out for a longer time than just the World Cup,” Inzamam-ul-Haq, Pakistan’s chief selector, told ESPNcricinfo website.
Shah also shared his disappointment about not being able to join the tournament through X, formerly Twitter. “With a heavy heart, I’m sharing that I will not be part of this amazing team that will be representing our beloved country,” he wrote.
With a heavy heart, I'm sharing that I will not be part of this amazing team that will be representing our beloved country. While I'm disappointed, I believe everything is in Allah's hands. InshahAllah will be on the field very soon.
Thank you to all my fans for the prayers!
— Naseem Shah (@iNaseemShah) September 22, 2023
Hasan Ali in the team
Ali, 29, last played a one-day international (ODI) in June 2022. His most recent performance in the Pakistan team was in the second Test match against New Zealand in January this year.
“If you see how Hasan Ali performed in the LPL [Lanka Premier League], or other performances, he has performed better than most. He is an experienced bowler who has played big mega events for Pakistan and performed well in them,” Inzamam told ESPNcricinfo.
He added that the medium pace bowler was included because of his “team spirit and ability to bring energy to the squad”.
Pakistan unveil squad for the World Cup campaign 🇵🇰💪
— Pakistan Cricket (@TheRealPCB) September 22, 2023
Other squad changes
Shah was not the only Pakistan team player to sustain injuries in recent matches. Muhammad Hasnain and Ihsanullah have also been left out of the squad owing to injuries.
Usama Mir has been included as an extra leg-spinner after making his ODI debut earlier this year and Mohammad Haris is among the reserves.
“I have not made any such changes. The team has been playing with this combination for the last two years and if I tried to disrupt the team within three weeks of my appointment that would not be okay,” said Inzamam.
The announcement of the Pakistan squad comes two days after Muhammad Hafeez resigned from the Pakistan cricket technical committee, adding to speculations about tensions surrounding the squad selection process.
I decided to leave Pakistan cricket technical committee. I served as honorary member. I would like to thank Zaka Ashraf sb for giving me this opportunity. I m always available whenever Zaka Ashraf sb need my honest suggestions for Pakistan cricket. My best wishes for Pakistan…
— Mohammad Hafeez (@MHafeez22) September 21, 2023
Pakistan squad: Babar Azam (captain), Shadab Khan (vice captain), Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Abdullah Shafique, Mohammad Rizwan (wicketkeeper), Saud Shakeel, Iftikhar Ahmed, Salman Ali Agha, Mohammad Nawaz, Usama Mir, Haris Rauf, Hasan Ali, Shaheen Afridi, Mohammad Wasim Jr
Reserves: Mohammad Haris, Abrar Ahmed, Zaman Khan