Teenage fast bowler Shaheen Afridi has taken six cheap wickets as Pakistan beat Bangladesh by 94 runs at Lord’s, clocking up their fourth World Cup win in a row but narrowly missing out on the semi-finals.
The World Cup is less than a month away and all nations have named their squads.
I’ll be running through the squads that I predicted and how they fared to the final 15. However, it should be noted that the squads can be changed until 24 May without the permission of the ICC.
Tamim Iqbal, Soumya Sarkar, Mohammad Mithun, Yasir Ali, Mushfiqur Rahim, Liton Das, Mohammad Saifuddin, Shakib Al Hasan, Mahmudullah, Sabbir Rahman, Mashrafe Mortaza, Rubel Hossain, Mustafizur Rahman, Taskin Ahmed and Sunzamul Islam.
Tamim Iqbal, Soumya Sarkar, Mohammad Mithun, Mushfiqur Rahim, Liton Das, Mosaddek Hossain, Mohammad Saifuddin, Shakib Al Hasan, Mahmudullah, Sabbir Rahman, Mashrafe Mortaza, Rubel Hossain, Mustafizur Rahman, Abu Jayed and Mehedi Hasan Miraz.
Mosaddek Hossain has been selected based on his form for his List A side Abahani Limited, leading from the front as skipper with a few 50s and a century batting at No. 6. With Mahmudullah still recovering from a shoulder injury, chief selector Minhajul Abedin had said they wanted someone as a proper sixth bowling option should Mahmudullah not be able to bowl. Abu Jayed hasn’t played any ODI cricket, but his ability to swing the new ball and his form in the BPL in January led him to be given a chance.
Taskin Ahmed was left out for lack of match fitness, yet he has been included in the Ireland tri-series Bangladesh will be playing in as preparation for the World Cup. Yasir Ali, Nayeem Hasan and Farhad Reza have also been included in the tri-series squad, so if they perform and some members of the World Cup squad don’t, there could be a change of heart from the Bangladeshi think tank.
Fakhar Zaman, Imam Ul Haq, Babar Azam, Abid Ali, Haris Sohail, Shoaib Malik, Shadab Khan, Imad Wasim, Faheem Ashraf, Sarfraz Ahmed, Mohammad Rizwan, Hasan Ali, Usman Shinwari, Junaid Khan and Shaheen Shah Afridi.
Fakhar Zaman, Imam Ul Haq, Babar Azam, Abid Ali, Haris Sohail, Shoaib Malik, Mohammad Hafeez, Shadab Khan, Imad Wasim, Faheem Ashraf, Sarfraz Ahmed, Hasan Ali, Mohammad Hasnain, Shaheen Shah Afridi and Junaid Khan.
I think the reason Mohammad Hafeez has been included in the World Cup squad is purely on his experience, and in big tournaments you need experience. However, he still needs to perform or else experience means nothing in pressure situations. Mohammad Rizwan should feel hard done by this. He has scored two centuries in his last five ODI matches, so to not be in the final 15 is a bit harsh.
The inclusion of Mohammad Hasnain is a little bit iffy. He’s played only four List A games, three of them ODI matches. Is he fit enough to bowl at 145 kilometres per hour consistently and touch 150 kilometres without breaking down after bowling ten overs? I feel the Pakistan selectors have been hyped like the fans over his PSL form and have rushed him in rather give him a solid season of List A cricket.
Mohammad Amir and Asif Ali have been added to the one-day squad against England so there is the possibility of them being drafted in at the expense of others should they not perform.
Chris Gayle, John Campbell, Darren Bravo, Shimron Hetmyer, Evin Lewis, Shai Hope, Andre Russell, Jason Holder, Carlos Brathwaite, Ashley Nurse, Sunil Narine, Oshane Thomas, Sheldon Cottrell, Kemar Roach and Keemo Paul.
Chris Hayle, Darren Bravo, Shimron Hetmyer, Evin Lewis, Nicholas Pooran, Shai Hope, Andre Russell, Jason Holder, Carlos Brathwaite, Ashley Nurse, Fabian Allen, Oshane Thomas, Sheldon Cottrell, Kemar Roach and Shannon Gabriel.
Nicholas Pooran is a very talented keeper-batsman who plays fearlessly every time he comes out to bat, as shown in his gigs in franchise T20 cricket and for the West Indies T20 side. However, he’s played only a sole ODI match and doesn’t have a List A hundred in his 19 matches so far. If he does get a game, he’ll probably play at six as a finisher considering how settled the current Windies top five is.
I’m surprised West Indies have gone a spinner light, with no Sunil Narine or Devendra Bishoo, but Narine’s injury and Bishoo’s poor performances have led to the selectors having no choice. Maybe left-arm spinner Kharry Pierre could’ve got a ticket to England, but Fabian Allen’s batting credentials place him above Pierre.
The inclusion of Shannon Gabriel is a bit questionable. He hadn’t played an ODI until 2017 before recently playing against Ireland. As a white-ball bowler he gets quite wayward and is inconsistent, and the likes of Alzarri Joseph and Keemo Paul could feel a bit hard done by their exclusion.
Jason Roy, Alex Hales, Jonny Bairstow, Eoin Morgan, Joe Root, Jos Buttler, Ben Stokes, Moeen Ali, Joe Denly, Tom Curran, Olly Stone, Chris Woakes, Liam Plunkett, Mark Wood and Adil Rashid.
Jason Roy, Jonny Bairstow, Eoin Morgan, Joe Root, Jos Buttler, Ben Stokes, Moeen Ali, Joe Denly, Tom Curran, Chris Woakes, David Willey, Liam Plunkett, Mark Wood and Adil Rashid.
Alex Hales has been omitted for disciplinary issues, so the 15th spot is up for grabs. David Willey is a brilliant bowler with the new ball but offers almost nothing in the middle overs and death overs. The form of Ben Stokes is a bit worrying and England need him firing ASAP.
The Poms play Pakistan in a five-match ODI series, with Jofra Archer and Chris Jordan being included in the squad to get a chance to change Ed Smith and his panel’s mind before 24 May. James Vince has replaced Hales in the squad for the Pakistan series, and if he performs, he’ll be the likely backup opener come World Cup time. Archer will do well against Pakistan and replace Willey. Mark Wood’s recent struggles with his knees have slightly reduced his pace, and with Archer England will have a bowler capable of clocking 145+ consistently.
Hazratullah Zazai, Rahmat Shah, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Asghar Afghan, Najibullah Zadran, Mohammad Shahzad, Ibrahim Ali Khil, Mohammad Nabi, Samiullah Shenwari, Rashid Khan, Qais Ahmad, Mujeeb Zadran, Gulbadin Naib, Dawlat Zadran and Aftab Alam.
Hazratullah Zazai, Rahmat Shah, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Asghar Afghan, Najibullah Zadran, Mohammad Shahzad, Noor Ali Zadran, Mohammad Nabi, Samiullah Shenwari, Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Zadran, Gulbadin Naib, Dawlat Zadran, Aftab Alam and Hamid Hassan.
Before I get into the squad, the sacking of Asghar Afghan in all three formats just before the World Cup has done Afghanistan more harm than good. Stars such as Mohammad Nabi and Rashid Khan have spoken against the decision to happen so soon before a World Cup, and it could bring disharmony into the Afghan camp.
It seems Ibrahim Ali Khil just didn’t get enough games to show his worth, thus Mujeeb Zadran’s uncle Noor Ali Zadran is in the squad. The 30-year-old opening batsman has played 47 ODIs to date, with one century and seven 50s. While I don’t think he’ll be in the playing XI over Mohammad Shahzad, Shahzad could play a middle-order role to provide stability at the top against Australia before the middle order go all guns blazing at the end.
Veteran seamer Hamid Hassan has been recalled after a 30-month hiatus, mostly due to injuries, and I believe the conditions convinced the selectors to take him. The pace attack has strengthened but Afghanistan will likely play only two seamers due to the class of their spin trio. They’ll also be hoping none of their spinners gets injured since they have no specialist backup spinner. One thing for sure is that they won’t finish last even if conditions aren’t in their favour.