KARACHI: Pakistan's left-arm pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi is likely to replace Shadab Khan as the team's vice-captain following the leg-spinner's below-par performance in the recently concluded Asia Cup 2023.
In the wake of Pakistan's abysmal performance against India and Sri Lanka in the Asia Cup, skipper Babar Azam's captaincy has been under scrutiny for the decision of vice-captain Shadab Khan's inclusion into the team despite persistent bad performances.
Vice-captain Shadab Khan is going through a bad patch in both the bowling and batting departments. Statistics indicate that he took six wickets at an average of 40.83 in five matches during the Asia Cup 2023.
In light of this, Pakistan's left-arm fast bowler Shaheen Shah Afridi — who has 255 international wickets to his name and has twice won the coveted Pakistan Super League (PSL) trophy in 2022 and 2023 — is likely to be appointed as the team's vice-captain replacing Shadab Khan.
Shaheen Shah Afridi's leadership qualities have been on display in the Pakistan Super League (PSL), where he led the Lahore Qalandars franchise to consecutive titles in 2022 and 2023.
The left-arm pacer has represented Pakistan in 27 tests, 44 one-day internationals (ODI) and 52 T20Is and has 255 international wickets to his name.
Chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Management Committee Zaka Ashraf is weighing his options about any possible change in the team's leadership
The final decision over any change in the team's leadership rests with the PCB management committee chairman who is unlikely to replace Babar Azam as the team's captain before the mega event. However, chances are that Shaheen Afridi might likely replace Shadab Khan as Azam's second-in-command.
Earlier it was reported that the team management including chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq and skipper Babar Azam are now considering making changes to the 15-member squad for the mega event.
Sources say that in light of the team's recent performance, the chances of Mohammad Haris, Usama Mir, Mohammad Wasim Jnr and Faheem Asraf making the World Cup squad look bleak.
Meanwhile, Hassan Ali and right-arm leg-break spinner Abrar Ahmed are likely to be included in the 15-member squad.
Pakistan's prospective 15-member-squad for the World Cup might look like this; Babar Azam (c), Imam-ul-Haq, Fakhar Zaman, Abdulla Shafiq, Salman Ali Agha, Iftikhar Ahmed, Saud Shakeel, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Mohammad Nawaz, Shadab Khan, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Haris Rauf, Hassan Ali, Zaman Khan.
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Previously, World Cup of 1999, 2003, 2007 and 2011 were won by the top two-ranked teams