Lahore: Pakistan selectors Thursday left out pace spearhead Mohammad Amir from the preliminary 15-man squad for next month’s World Cup to be held in England.
The 27-year-old has been in wretched form since guiding Pakistan to win over India in the Champions trophy final in June 2017, with just four wickets in 14 matches.
But the left-arm fast bowler, who missed the 2011 and 2015 World Cup due to a five-year ban on match fixing imposed in 2010, has a lifeline as teams can be changed until May 23 -- seven days before the ten-team event starts.
Chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq said Amir’s form was concerning.
"Amir had not performed as well as was expected of him," said Inzamam, who was part of Pakistan’s World Cup winning team in 1992.
Amir is included in the 17-man squad for the five-match one-day series against England from May 5-19, and can regain his World Cup place if he performs well.
"We have included Amir for the England series with a hope that he regains his rhythm and wicket-taking ability in the series," said Inzamam.
Allrounder Mohammad Hafeez was included in the World Cup squad subject to fully recovering from a fractured thumb injury he sustained during the Pakistan Super League (PSL) in February this year.
There was a surprise World Cup call-up for 19-year-old rookie fast bowler Mohammad Hasnain, who bowled at 150kph in the PSL earlier this year.
"Hasnain is exciting and can be a surprise package of the World Cup," said Inzamam of the paceman, who played three one-day internationals against Australia last month, taking two wickets.
Sarfraz Ahmed will lead both the squads.
Another left-arm pacer, 29-year-old Junaid Khan, was preferred over Amir.
Opener Abid Ali, 31, also earned a call-up after scoring a debut hundred against Australia.
The squad is largely comprised of young players, with only a handful of veterans -- Sarfraz and Haris Sohail, who played in 2015, as well as Shoaib Malik, who played in 2007, and Mohammad Hafeez, who took part in the 2007 and 2011 tournaments.
Squad: Sarfraz Ahmed (captain), Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Abid Ali, Babar Azam, Haris Sohail, Shoaib Malik, Mohammad Hafeez(subject to fitness), Imad Wasim, Shadab Khan, Hasan Ali, Faheem Ashraf, Junaid Khan, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Mohammad Hasnain
Two additions for England ODIs: Mohammad Amir and Asif Ali
Meanwhile, the team is scheduled to leave for England on April 23 for a 83-day long hectic tour during which it will play one T20 practice match, a Twenty20 International, four 50-over warm-up matches and five ODIs before participating in the 46-day ICC World Cup from May 30.
Pakistan will take West Indies in their World Cup opener on May 31 at Trent Bridge.
As per the ICC regulations, all participating sides have to submit their 15-player World Cup squads by April 30 but can make changes until May 22 without needing the ICC’s approval. Post May 23, all player replacements will have to be approved by the Event Technical Committee.
England, Australia, India, Bangladesh and New Zealand have already announced their preliminary squads for the next month World Cup.
The following is the Pakistan cricket team’s schedule of England:
April 23 – Departure for England
April 27 – v Kent (50-over practice match)
April 29 – v Northamptonshire (50-over match)
May 01 – v Leicestershire (T20 match - d/n)
May 05 – v England (only T20I), Cardiff
May 08 – 1st ODI v England, The Oval
May 11 – 2nd ODI v England, Hampshire
May 14 – 3rd ODI v England, Bristol
May 17 – 4th ODI v England, Trent Bridge
May 19 – 5th ODI v England, Leeds
ICC Cricket World Cup 2019:
May 24 – v Afghanistan (warm-up), Bristol
May 26 – v Bangladesh (warm-up), Cardiff
May 31 – v West Indies, Trent Bridge
June 03 – v England, Trent Bridge
June 07 – v Sri Lanka, Bristol
June 12 – v Australia, Taunton
June 16 – v India, Old Trafford
June 23 – v South Africa, Lord’s
June 26 – v New Zealand, Edgbaston
June 29 – v Afghanistan, Headingley
July 05 – v Bangladesh, Lord’s (d/n)
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