The preparations for the upcoming World Cup 2023 are underway as some top teams have already announced their squads for the event over the past few days.
The International Cricket Council (ICC) has set September 28 as the last date for squad submission, and the PCB is expected to announce its squad this week.
The Men in Green recently participated in the Asia Cup 2023 and managed to win only two games against Nepal and Bangladesh, failing to qualify for the final.
With the injury of Naseem Shah and the need for an effective spinner in the setup, the Selection Committee is expected to make a few changes to the national squad.
The Committee is likely to include Hasan Ali and Abrar Ahmed as replacements for Naseem Shah and Usama Mir, respectively to bolster the national bowling unit.
Here is what we think the national 15-member squad for the ODI World Cup 2023 in India should look like:
Imam-ul-Haq and Fakhar Zaman have been opening the innings for Pakistan in 50-over cricket for years, and their form will be crucial for the team.
However, the Mardan-born batter does not seem to be in good form, which gives Abdullah Shafique, a chance to open the innings along with Imam-ul Haq.
Abdullah was part of the playing XI in the last match against Sri Lanka in the Asia Cup, where he scored a half-century, which is a positive sign for Pakistan.
Babar Azam is the best candidate for the one-down position, and he has been showcasing phenomenal performances for the past few years.
The right-hander has scored 4,868 runs at an average of 62.41 while batting at number three, which allows Pakistan to stick with the same batting order in the event.
The recent performance of Rizwan at number four is commendable, with his 1,060 runs at an average of 44.16 at this position making a strong case for him.
For number five, Salman Ali Agha is a strong candidate for Pakistan, having scored 226 runs in eight matches at an average of 37.66, including three fifties.
Iftikhar Ahmed will be batting at number six, having delivered many brilliant performances, while Saud Shakeel will serve as a backup batter for the middle order.
The inclusion of the mystery spinner, Abrar Ahmed, will be a huge boost, along with vice-captain, Shadab Khan and left-arm spinner, Mohammad Nawaz.
However, the recent performance of Shadab has witnessed ups and downs, but he has been one of the key performers for Pakistan with both bat and ball.
Nawaz, on the other hand, can also help the national side in taking crucial wickets with the ball and can change the game in his favor with the bat.
The injury to Naseem Shah in the Asia Cup is undoubtedly a huge blow for Pakistan, but the recovery of Hasan Ali is a sign of relief for the Men in Green.
The right-arm pacer has been one of the top performers for the national team in white-ball cricket and can be a valuable resource in the marquee event.
Hasan Ali has the ability to share the new ball with Shaheen Shah Afridi and can also deliver his best in the middle of the innings.
Haris Rauf will be the third pacer for the Men in Green in the event, having showcased impressive performances in the recently concluded Asia Cup 2023.
The right-arm quick was the leading wicket-taker for Pakistan in the event, taking nine wickets in four games, including a superb spell of 4 for 19 against India.
Mohammad Wasim will be the fourth pacer in the squad, who had a phenomenal start to his ODI career, taking 24 wickets in 16 matches at an average of 26.7.
Source: Pro Pakistani