Former Pakistani all-rounder and captain Shahid Afridi stated on Tuesday that the Men in Green have a balanced ICC World Cup 2023 squad but it would have been better if they had the services of pacer Zaman Khan.
Afridi, who captained the Green Shirts in the 2011 World Cup, believed that it is Pakistan’s best chance to win the mega event because it is played in Asian conditions.
“If Pakistan cannot win the World Cup in Asian conditions, then where can they win it?” Afridi said. “Indian conditions are suitable for batters.”
“The team is balanced, only Zaman Khan’s selection is missing from the squad,” he added.
Afridi then went on to emphasise the importance of Shadab Khan, Pakistan’s vice-captain, and Usama Mir as he believes that both leg-spinners will be key for the Men in Green throughout their campaign.
“The performance of Shadab and Usama will be key. They need to start taking wickets in the middle overs. I’m hoping that Shadab will take wickets,” he said.
It must be noted that despite posting a colossal total of 345 in their first warm-up match against the Black Caps, Pakistan not only lost by wickets but New Zealand chased the target in just 43.4 overs courtesy of a subpar bowling display by the Green Shirts.
They will now take on Australia today before officially beginning their World Cup campaign against the Netherlands on October 6 at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium.
Pakistan squad for ICC World Cup 2023
Babar Azam (c), Abdullah Shafique, Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Iftikhar Ahmed, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Shadab Khan, Mohammad Nawaz, Usama Mir, Haris Rauf, M Wasim Jnr, Hasan Ali, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Saud Shakeel, Salman Ali Agha.
Travelling reserves: Mohammad Haris, Abrar Ahmed, Zaman Khan.
Pakistan's schedule for the ICC World Cup 2023
October 6 — vs Netherlands in Hyderabad
October 10 — vs Sri Lanka in Hyderabad
October 14 — vs India in Ahmedabad
October 20 — vs Australia in Bengaluru
October 23 — vs Afghanistan in Chennai
October 27 — vs South Africa in Chennai
October 31 — vs Bangladesh in Kolkata
November 4 — vs New Zealand Bengaluru (Day match)
November 11 — vs England in Kolkata
The day matches which will start at 10:00am Pakistan Standard Time (PST) while all other matches will be day-night fixtures starting at 01:30pm (PST).
If Pakistan qualify for the semi-finals, they will play in Kolkata.
If India qualify for the semi-finals, they will play in Mumbai unless playing against Pakistan, in which case they will play in Kolkata.