Pakistan have announced a 16-player squad for their upcoming ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup Super League series against West Indies, starting 8 June.
Their regular captain Babar Azam will lead the side, while Shadab Khan, who missed the ODI series against Australia due to an injury, will return as vice-captain.
The series will not be played in a 'Managed Event Environment', hence the selectors have reduced the number of players in the squad from 21 for the Australia series which Pakistan won 2-1, to 16 for the upcoming assignment.
Muhammad Wasim, Pakistan's Chief Selector, said that the squad has been picked keeping the direct qualification for the 2023 ICC Men's Cricket World Cup in mind.
"As the ODIs against the West Indies are part of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 qualification, we have decided to give best chance to our side to collect maximum points and strengthen our chances of progressing directly for the pinnacle 50-over tournament," said Wasim. "We have retained the same core of players so they further establish themselves in the format. I hope this bunch will continue the form they gained from the Australia series.
"Also, and taking into consideration that there will be no Managed Event Environment and the players can be called at a short notice, we have reduced the squad size to 16 players," he explained.
Missing from the list are Asif Afridi, Asif Ali, Haider Ali and Usman Qadir, while Saud Shakeel was also not considered due to a scheduled surgery for sinusitis.
Wasim added that the players that are not a part of the squad for the West Indies leg form a part of their planning for this year's ICC Men's T20 World Cup in Australia.
"For the Australia ODIs, we had also announced backup players as cover to those players who were carrying injuries. Players such as Mohammad Nawaz and Shadab Khan are now fully fit, which has allowed us to leave out Asif Afridi and Usman Qadir.
"However, Usman along with Asif Ali and Haider Ali remain in our plans for the shortest format as we have a series of T20Is lined up this year, including the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2022."
Pakistan are currently ninth in the CWCSL Standings and will be hoping to improve their position to stay in contention for next's year ODI World Cup.
Squad: Babar Azam (c), Shadab Khan (vc), Abdullah Shafique, Fakhar Zaman, Haris Rauf, Hasan Ali, Iftikhar Ahmed, Imam-ul-Haq, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Haris, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan, Mohammad Wasim Junior, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Shahnawaz Dahani and Zahid Mahmood
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