Pakistan have announced their 15-man squad for the upcoming Cricket World Cup that will be played in England and Wales from 30th May.
Sarfaraz Ahmed-led unit will enter the competition as outsiders to win the coveted prize. Pakistan will take heart from the fact they managed to win ICC Champions Trophy on English soil in 2017. Besides, they also lifted the World T20 crown in 2009.
The side has not been in the best of form and suffered a whitewash in the bilateral one-day series played against Australia. The side is currently playing England in a five-match one-day series to adequate prepare for cricket’s most decorated tournament.
The team management led by Mickey Arthur will be hoping that the side can adjust to the English conditions and perform consistently with bat and ball in this year’s World Cup.
Since 1992, the format has changed back to round-robin format where every team will play each other once. Pakistan will have fond memories of the format as they managed to surprise all odds and win 1992 Cricket World Cup played in Australia and New Zealand.
In a round-robin format, Pakistan will need to maintain consistency with bat and ball in order to finish in the top-four in the league table and qualify for the knockout stages of the tournament.
Given Pakistan’s unpredictable nature in big competitions, we now take a look at three players that can help the side go the distance and win the coveted prize for the second time.
He has established himself as the premier bowler for Pakistan in limited-overs cricket for past two years. Hasan Ali was certainly instrumental in helping Pakistan win their maiden ICC Champions Trophy in England in 2017. He is a skiddy customer who tends to bowl well and take wickets for Pakistan in the middle overs of the innings.
The right-arm pacer bowler has the ability to produce crucial breakthroughs and change the complexion of the game in a space of few overs. With the pitches expected to help for quick bowlers, there is no doubt that Hasan Ali will be crucial to Pakistan’s chances in this World Cup.
The middle-order batsman will be looking to make an impression with the bat for Pakistan his first Cricket World Cup, Since 2015 Cricket World Cup, Azam has topped the batting charts for Pakistan in limited-overs cricket. He has scored 2659 runs in 63 matches at an average of 51.13 with nine centuries to his name.
In the past twelve months, Azam has been a consistent performer for Pakistan across all three formats. He has certainly raised his game and showed excellent form with the bat against South Africa in shorter formats.
Pakistan will be hoping that Babar Azam can produce big runs in this year’s Cricket World Cup that will begin from 30th May. Azam has played a number of one-day games in England and scored 452 runs in 14 matches at an average of 37.66.The 24-year old will be looking to improve his numbers with the bat in English conditions in the upcoming showpiece event.
Left-arm quick will need to deliver with the new-ball if Pakistan wants to go the distance in this year’s competition. Amir was instrumental with the ball in Pakistan’s triumph in ICC Champions Trophy in 2017. He dismissed quality players like Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli in the initial Power play overs to see Pakistan clinch the coveted prize at The Oval.
Since Jul 2017, Amir has struggled to pick wickets with the new-ball in the limited-overs cricket. He has taken only 5 wickets in 15 matches at an average of 92.60. There is no doubt that Amir is a world-class performer and will be determined to get back to form in this World Cup.
There is an old adage in the game of cricket, “Form is Temporary, Class is Permanent”, as Pakistan will be hoping that Amir can rediscover his mojo with the ball in this year’s competition.