PAKISTAN will play without injured pace bowler Naseem Shah at the World Cup starting next month in India, with Hasan Ali taking his place in the 15-man squad announced on Friday (22).
The 20-year-old injured his right shoulder during Pakistan’s Asia Cup Super Four defeat by arch-rivals India in Colombo last week and was forced to leave the pitch as he was unable to finish his 10th over.
Naseem is set to spend up to four months on the sidelines after being advised to undergo surgery.
“Naseem Shah is a key bowler for us, but he’s injured,” former captain and chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq told reporters. “I did not make too many changes in the team. It’s more or less the same team you have seen play in the last one year maybe.
“Unfortunately, the report we have from our doctors, we hear Naseem will be out for a longer time than just the World Cup. At this time, he was the world’s best bowler in my view. It’s a loss for Pakistan. We hope he’s fit soon.”
Pakistan’s pace attack will be led by Shaheen Shah Afridi and he will be supported by Haris Rauf, Mohammed Waseem and Ali in a largely unchanged side led by Babar Azam.
Inzamam said the world’s top-ranked ODI team may have paid the price for allowing too many players to compete in a hot and humid nation like Sri Lanka in the buildup to the World Cup.
“They played a test series there, then the Lankan Premier League, a series against Afghanistan and also Asia Cup matches. We wonder if spending such a long time in such conditions led to injuries to our bowlers as well as some batters,” Inzamam said.
“Pakistan was the number one ODI team before the World Cup. We have to keep our trust on these players.”
Pakistan, 1992 World Cup champions, will begin their campaign against the Netherlands on October 6 in Hyderabad.
Pakistan squad: Babar Azam (captain), Shadab Khan, Abdullah Shafique, Fakhar Zaman, Haris Rauf, Hasan Ali, Iftikhar Ahmed, Imam-ul-Haq, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan, Mohammad Wasim Jnr, Salman Ali Agha, Saud Shakeel, Shaheen Shah Afridi and Usama Mir.