NewsWhy Pakistan Did Not Announce Their T20 World Cup Squad

Why Pakistan Did Not Announce Their T20 World Cup Squad

As selection committees around the world announced their preliminary squads for the upcoming T20 World Cup on 1 May – the cut-off to submit it to the ICC – or in the lead-up to the date, the Pakistan selectors were rather pondering over the squad for the side’s three T20Is in Ireland and four in England.

Grassroots Cricket understands that the Pakistan men’s selection committee – which comprises Wahab Riaz, Mohammad Yousuf, Abdul Razzaq, Asad Shafiq, and a data analyst, alongside the captain and coach – wants to provide the maximum available opportunities to the players to stake a claim for the World Cup squad. Pakistan play Ireland on 10, 12, and 14 May and England on 22 May, and these matches will serve as an audition opportunity for the players.

This move is also aimed at protecting the players from getting demoralized, as a player named in the preliminary squad can be replaced by another in the final squad. Until 25 May, teams can freely make changes to their original list of 15 (submitted to the ICC), while any changes after that will require ICC Event Technical Committee approval.

On the eve of Pakistan’s five-match T20I series against New Zealand, Pakistan captain Babar Azam had discussed the team’s player rotation plans so the side has their combinations nailed before they fly out for the Ireland series.

Whether the series served the objectives that the captain and the team management had set remains contentious, considering Pakistan, fielding their full-strength side, were only able to level the series 2-2 against an under-strength New Zealand team, who had their mainstays in India playing the IPL.

Pakistan had hoped that the newcomers in Abrar Ahmed, Usman Khan, and Irfan Khan Niazi, along with returnees Mohammad Amir and Imad Wasim, would put in some compelling performances that would make pinning down the final 15 a straightforward task.

With three players in Mohammad Rizwan, Irfan, and Azam Khan, getting injured during the series, with the first two missing the last two games and Azam being unavailable for the entire duration of the series, the selectors’ plans to try these players in different situations also took a hit. Haris Rauf, who has been an effective bowler for Pakistan in the middle overs and death of late, was unavailable for selection as he recovers from a shoulder injury sustained in the PSL.

Pakistan’s scoring rate has remained under scrutiny since the team was knocked out of the 2021 T20 World Cup after losing to Australia in the semi-final. The team has not posted a score of 200 while batting first since December 2021 and has a first innings run rate of 8.01 in the window. Pakistan could muster 178 at most in this series in some of the best batting conditions at home, and it, once again, raised questions about how the side begins their innings.

Pakistan have tried different combinations for the top three in the last nine matches, with Saim Ayub being the only consistent opener. Though he is yet to fire at the top, the 21-year-old has explosive performances in the PSL and leagues around the world, and Pakistan are eager to back him.

Pakistan will announce their squad for the two series – in Ireland and England – on Thursday morning.

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