No Naseem Shah for Pakistan in 2023 World Cup as PCB announces 15-member squad; Hasan Ali returns after over a year

Written by Sumit Seth

Pakistan on Friday announced their squad for the 2023 World Cup, with Naseem Shah being ruled out of the tournament with a shoulder injury. Hasan Ali, the right-arm pacer who last played an ODI in June 2022, made a return to the squad as Naseem’s replacement. Haris Rauf, who had also faced an injury in the Asia Cup, has retained his place in the squad. Babar Azam continues to lead the side with Fakhar Zaman also retaining his place.

Pakistan’s Naseem Shah celebrates taking the wicket of India’s Shardul Thakur during the Asia Cup (AP)
Pakistan’s Naseem Shah celebrates taking the wicket of India’s Shardul Thakur during the Asia Cup (AP)
Naseem had faced a shoulder injury during the side’s Asia Cup encounter against arch-rivals India earlier this month. Hasan, who made a return to the squad, has represented the side in 60 ODIs so far, and was also a part of the Pakistan side during the 2019 edition of the marquee tournament.

“There are a lot of injury concerns for our fast bowlers. We wanted someone who has experience of playing in big tournaments and can pick wickets in the middle so we have gone with Hasan Ali,” PCB chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq said as he announced the squad during a press conference on Friday.

Inzamam also had a rather ominous update for fans on Naseem Shah, stating that the scans indicate the young right-armer could be out of action even after the World Cup, scheduled to take place in October-November. “The reports that we have got suggest that Naseem Shah will be out for quite some time and not only the World Cup. It is a big blow for Pakistan with the kind of bowling he was doing with the new ball as well as at the death,” said Inzamam.

One of the major surprises was the omission of Faheem Ashraf, and the chief selector stated that the decision was made keeping in mind the middle-over prowess in the bowling attack.

“We were struggling to pick wickets in the middle overs in Asia Cup and we know that we have to take wickets in the middle to win matches in India. So we have picked bowlers who can do that,” said Inzamam.

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Sumit Seth