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Pakistan’s Final Squad for ICC Cricket World Cup 2023: Hasan Ali Replaces Injured Naseem Shah in Babar Azam’s Team

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), under the leadership of selector and former captain Inzamam-ul-Haq, unveiled Pakistan’s squad for the upcoming ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 set to kick off in India next month. Babar Azam will be at the helm, with all-rounder Shadab Khan appointed as his deputy.

However, the team suffered a significant setback as pacer Naseem Shah was ruled out of the World Cup due to injury. In his place, veteran pacer Hasan Ali has been brought into the squad and will join forces with the likes of Shaheen Shah Afridi and Haris Rauf.

Other bowlers in the squad include Usama Mir and Mohammad Wasim Jr. Test specialist Saud Shakeel and opener Abdullah Shafique, who impressed with a half-century in Pakistan’s recent match against Sri Lanka in the Asia Cup 2023, have also secured spots in the squad. All-rounder Agha Salman, who endured a painful blow to the face during a Super 4 match against India in the Asia Cup 2023, is also part of the team.

Pakistan is set to face arch-rivals India in a highly-anticipated World Cup match at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad on October 14.

Inzamam expressed his thoughts on Naseem’s injury, stating, “Naseem was injured; he was our main bowler, and it was unfortunate. Hasnain has an ankle injury and is out as well as Ihsanullah. Hasan Ali has performed impressively in the LPL and other events, proving himself as one of the better performers. He is an experienced bowler with a track record of excelling in major events for Pakistan. With Naseem’s absence, we needed someone capable of taking the new ball, and Hasan Ali fits the bill. He is a versatile bowler, effective with both the new and old ball, and his presence adds energy to the team.”

He further added, “Unfortunately, the medical reports we have received indicate that Naseem will be sidelined for a longer duration than just the World Cup. At the time of his injury, he was, in my view, the world’s best bowler. This is a loss for Pakistan, and we hope for his swift recovery.”

Hasan Ali last played an ODI in June 2022 and represented Pakistan most recently in the second Test against New Zealand in Karachi in January of the same year. Pakistan’s World Cup squad announcement faced delays as the PCB evaluated the disappointing performance in the Asia Cup 2023, where they finished at the bottom of the Super Four group following losses to India and Sri Lanka. Additionally, the board sought a second opinion regarding Naseem Shah’s injury diagnosis.

Pakistan’s ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 Squad:

  • Babar Azam (Captain)
  • Shadab Khan (Vice-Captain)
  • Fakhar Zaman
  • Imam Ul Haq
  • Abdullah Shafique
  • Mohammad Rizwan
  • Iftikhar Ahmed
  • Agha Salman
  • Saud Shakeel
  • Mohammad Nawaz
  • Shaheen Afridi
  • Haris Rauf
  • Hasan Ali
  • Usama Mir
  • Mohammad Wasim Jr.

Traveling Reserves:

  • Abrar Ahmed
  • Zaman Khan
  • Mohammad Haris