Predicting Pakistan’s 15-player squad for Asia Cup 2022
The Asia Cup is set to begin on August 27, and Pakistan will play their first game on August 28.
Updated - Aug 2, 2022 8:09 pm
The schedule for Asia Cup 2022 was announced on Tuesday, August 2, by the Asian Cricket Council and Pakistan will be taking on India in their campaign opener. The tournament, that was earlier scheduled to be held in Sri Lanka will now take place in the UAE as Dubai and Sharjah will be hosting the fixtures between August 27 to September 11.
Due to widespread civil unrest in Sri Lanka, the competition has been relocated to the UAE. The five confirmed teams for the 2022 Asia Cup are Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and India. In addition, a qualifier tournament among Singapore, Hong Kong, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates right before the main draw will give the sixth team to the competition. This edition of the tournament will be played in the T20 format with the T20 World Cup 2022 being months away.
India have won the most Asia Cup titles (seven), in 1984, 1988, 1990/91, 1995, 2010, 2016, and 2018. India also won the only Asia Cup competition in the T20 format so far, back in 2016. In that event, the Men in Blue, captained by former Indian captain MS Dhoni, went undefeated.
Meanwhile, the Pakistani side has been in good form recently, and are the arch rivals of India. Since the two countries no longer play bilateral series, August 28’s match between the fierce rivals has supporters giddy with anticipation. Pakistan have the advantage because they defeated India in the 2021 T20 World Cup, but the Men in Blue are also doing well in the 20-over format of late.
Pakistan have played just one T20I this year, which was against Australia when the Men in Yellow toured for a multi-format series. They faced Australia and West Indies in ODIs, but have not played any other T20I game. Thus, the Asia Cup will prove to be a boost for the side as they prepare for the T20 World Cup that is set to begin in October.
Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan have been in good touch and will be the key players in the squad. In the bowling department, Shaheen Afridi is the player to watch out for as his heroics from the previous T20 World Cup against India are known to all. The youngster will be expected to carry the same form. Shadab Khan has not played a T20I since December last year, but has been a regular face in the white-ball squad.
Ever since his international debut, Asif Ali has been another key member of the Pakistani white-ball contingent, and similar is the case with Fakhar Zaman. Haider Ali has played very few matches but has been a part of the roaster for quite some time now. Haris Rauf will be a prime member in the bowling department. Iftikhar Ahmed will be a good all-round option for Pakistan, contributing both with the bat and ball.
Even though he lacks the required experience, Khushdil Shah will be a strong addition to the squad. Just like Shadab, Mohammad Nawaz has also not played a T20I since December 2021 but is a part of the regular ODI setup. Mohammad Wasim Jr. already has 17 wickets from the 11 matches that he has played, and can contribute well to Pakistan’s assault.
Shahnawaz Dahani is one of the newest additions to the T20I squad and has played only two games. Usman Qadir, a talent born with cricket in his blood, has been a great addition to Pakistan’s lineup. Hasan Ali’s experience and talent will speak for himself. There are chances of Imam-ul-Haq missing out of the squad as his numbers aren’t that convincing in T20 format. Even Mohammad Harris, who has been an occasional wicketkeeper for Pakistan, might mis out as he’s yet to make his T20I debut.
Let us have a look at Pakistan’s predicted squad for the Asia Cup:
Babar Azam (C), Shadab Khan, Mohammad Rizwan, Asif Ali, Fakhar Zaman, Haider Ali, Haris Rauf, Iftikhar Ahmed, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Wasim Jnr, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Shahnawaz Dahani, Usman Qadir, Hasan Ali