Fast bowlers Mohammad Amir and Wahab Riaz have been named in the 15-member Pakistan squad for the 2019 International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cup, which is slated to take place in England and Wales from May 30 to July 14.
Amir and Riaz were not named in Pakistan's preliminary squad for the mega event which was announced last month. However, they have now been included as a replacement for left-arm pacer Junaid Khan and all-rounder Faheem Ashraf, respectively.
Reflecting on Amir and Wahab's selection in the national squad, Pakistan chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq revealed that though Junaid and Faheem were originally preferred over a few other bowlers, their below-par performances during series against England had forced their way out of the squad.
“Junaid and Faheem had been originally preferred over a few other bowlers based on their recent performances and the investment we had made on them since 2017. They had the opportunity to cement their Word Cup spots, but they were well below-par in the series against England, even though they were up against the difficult challenge of bowling on placid and batsmen-friendly wickets," the ICC official website quoted Inzamam as saying.
"After it became obvious that the bat is likely to dominate the ball in the World Cup, we revisited our strategy and reverted to the pace of Mohammad Amir and Wahab Riaz. Amir and Wahab give the fast bowling attack more experience to back and support the relatively inexperienced, but immensely talented, Shaheen Shah Afridi and Mohammad Hasnain," he added.
Leg-spinner Shadab Khan, who missed the recent five-match ODI series against England due to a viral infection, has recovered fully from the same to retain his spot in the national squad for the quadrennial event.
Shadab's inclusion means Test regular Yasir Shah--who was called in the Pakistan squad in the absence of the unwell leg-spinner during England series--will not feature in the 2019 ICC World Cup.
Pakistan are slated to play two warm-up matches against Afghanistan and Bangladesh on May 24 and May 26, respectively before they will begin their World Cup campaign against West Indies on May 31.
The squads are as follows:
Sarfaraz Ahmed (capt,wk), Asif Ali, Babar Azam, Fakhar Zaman, Haris Sohail, Hasan Ali, Imad Wasim, Imam-ul-Haq, Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Hasnanin, Shadab Khan, Shaheen Afridi, Shoaib Malik, Wahab Riaz