Pakistan Chief Selector Inzamam-ul-Haq left the conference hall at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore on Friday in a burst of laughter when he innocently expressed his inability to “select” Indian spinner Kuldeep Yadav.
He was asked to share his thoughts on Shadab Khan’s performance and the reasons behind his inclusion in the World Cup 2023 squad despite poor show in recent matches.
Pakistan have named their 15-player squad for the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup, which will be held in October and November in India.
Fast bowler Naseem Shah was replaced with Hasan Ali. He had suffered a shoulder injury during the Asia Cup 2023 in a match against India on 11 September and was ruled out of the tournament.
Shadab’s induction in the team surprised everyone as he had failed to make a mark in the recently-concluded regional event while Indian spinner Kuldeep Yadav was declared the Player of the Tournament.
Yadav was also instrumental in his team’s victory against Pakistan in the Super 4 clash, where he claimed a five-wicket haul.
The same concerns were raised today before Inzamam-ul-Haq when he announced the squad.
“The issue for me is that I can not select Kuldeep Yadav as he is in another team,” he responded, leaving the audience in fits of laughter.
He said that Shadab and Mohammad Nawaz’s inclusion is part of the continuity in the team that has been playing for the last several months and didn’t go for a major reshuffle.
While sharing his reasons for the move, Inzamam said both of them have been playing ODIs for Pakistan although their current performance is not good.
“Pakistan team is facing challenges in the middle overs when they are unable to take wickets. You are right, they are not giving the performance as per their calibre. But we have confidence in them that they will show their talent in the World Cup. We have Usama Mir with us who can be utilised.”
Pakistan will play two warm-ups – against New Zealand on 29 September and Australia on 3 October – before their tournament opener against the Netherlands on 6 October.
Pakistan squad for World Cup 2023:
Babar Azam (captain), Shadab Khan (vice-captain), Abdullah Shafique, Fakhar Zaman, Haris Rauf, Hasan Ali, Iftikhar Ahmed, Imam-ul-Haq, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Mohammad Wasim Jnr, Salman Ali Agha, Saud Shakeel, Shaheen Shah Afridi and Usama Mir.
Mohammad Haris, mystery spinner Abrar Ahmed and fast bowler Zaman Khan.