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April 19, 2019

We have tried to cover all bases, says Inzamam

Sports

April 19, 2019

KARACHI: Inzamam-ul-Haq, Pakistan’s chief selector, announced on Thursday that he and fellow national selectors have chosen a “three-dimensional” side for the ICC World Cup in England.

“In England and Wales, conditions play a critical role. With this in mind, we have selected a three-dimensional side, which gives the captain a wide range of options of whatever game plan he chooses on a match day,” said Inzamam.

“We have experienced batters, who are backed up by bowlers with plenty of variety and variation to exploit any type of conditions.

“This is more or less the side we have been playing since the ICC Champions Trophy 2017. I have absolute trust that this side has grown further in experience and stature since 2017. Supported by the flare, skill, talent and killing-instinct, this side has the capability and potential to rise to the occasion and produce strong performances,” he said.

“While picking the side, we’ve tried to cover all bases by assessing our strengths as well as analysing each opponent, the match venues and the event format.

“Hafeez has not played any cricket for the past 10-odd weeks, but he has always featured in our plans. Although his inclusion in the World Cup squad is subject to fitness, yesterday we got a boost when he started playing with tennis ball with his doctor confirming he will be available for selection for the series against England. Our World Cup opener is on 31 May against the Windies, which is still six weeks away, and we are confident he will be fully fit and ready to display his vast international experience.

“Abid Ali and Mohammad Hasnain have been selected after they cleared their fitness tests at the National Cricket Academy on Thursday morning.

“Abid is the third opener in the side, and has earned a place following a string of high scores, including a magnificent century on debut against Australia last month. Hasnain has been selected due to his sheer pace and speed. He may not have played many ODIs but he has already made an impact by making the top batsmen hop and run in his brief career while also picking up wickets.

“Shoaib Malik and Hafeez have played in World Cups before (Malik 2007, Hafeez 2007 and 2011), which makes them experienced and qualified to provide the required stability to the middle-order. The exuberance of Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq and Babar Azam make them the most exciting, talented and entertaining top-three in the world. Sarfaraz is a proven-performer with the bat who has played a number of crucial knocks for Pakistan and his presence further strengthens the middle-order.

“In Imad Wasim, Shadab Khan, Hasan Ali, Faheem Ashraf, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Junaid Khan and Mohammad Hasnain, Pakistan has probably the most attacking and lethal bowling unit, which has variation and variety to take wickets and keep the opponents under pressure.

“For the T20I and ODIs against England, we have added Asif Ali and Mohammad Amir as additional players. Asif is probably the best power-hitter in Pakistan, while Amir has the experience and a good record in England. These two will provide cover to the World Cup squad and can be drafted into the side by 23 May, if required.”

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