No panic behind inclusion of Amir, Wahab in Pakistan World Cup squad: Inzamam-ul-Haq
Wahab last played in national colours during the Champions Trophy 2017.
Updated - May 20, 2019 8:43 pm
Not often it is seen that a team overhauls its pace-bowling attack for a World Cup after finding the ground reality hard to digest. But former world champions Pakistan did just that after getting whacked by England 0-4 in a five-game ODI series 10 days ahead of the mega tournament. The Men in Green got rid of the likes of Junaid Khan and Faheem Ashraf and replaced them with the experienced Mohammad Amir and Wahab Riaz in the final squad for the World Cup. Pakistan’s campaign kicks off on May 31 at Trent Bridge against the West Indies.
The two left-arm seamers – Amir and Wahab – were not there in the preliminary squad of 15 for the World Cup. While Amir lost the selectors’ favour after his prolonged off form, Wahab hasn’t played for the national team since the Champions Trophy in 2017. Amir though was picked for the series versus England but he was down with chickenpox and featured in only the first match of the ODI series which though was washed out and he did not get to bowl.
Wahab, who had impressed with his lionhearted performance the last time Pakistan featured in a World Cup match which was in 2015, was set to replace Amir only if the latter failed to clear the medical test in London. But after Pakistan failed to convert any of their big totals in the four matches into a victory, the selectors pressed the emergency button and added both the ace bowlers who have 162 ODI wickets between them.
Wahab knows how to reverse swing
“Wahab Riaz is an experienced bowler and knows how to use the old ball and reverse swing. He [Mohammad Amir] has vast experience of playing in England. He also has a good economy rate in England,” Inzamam was quoted as saying in the press conference. He though added that there was no panic in the Pakistan camp and the decision was taken after taking captain Sarfaraz Ahmed and coach Mickey Arthur into confidence.
Another change included bringing in batsman Asif Ali, who hit a couple of fifties against England, in place of Abid Ali.
Pakistan’s final squad for World Cup 2019:
Sarfaraz Ahmed (C & wk), Babar Azam, Wahab Riaz, Asif Ali, Fakhar Zaman, Mohammad Amir, Imam-ul-Haq, Haris Sohail, Hasan Ali, Imad Wasim, Mohammad Hafeez, Shaheen Afridi, Mohammad Hasnain, Shadab Khan and Shoaib Malik