Inzamam-ul-Haq responded cleverly to a question about the underwhelming performance of Pakistan’s spinners in ODIs. On Friday, Pakistan revealed their 15-member squad for the ODI World Cup, and the absence of Naseem Shah was a significant topic of discussion.
Naseem had suffered a shoulder injury during the Asia Cup match against India earlier this month, raising doubts about his participation in the prestigious global tournament.
Chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq eventually confirmed Naseem’s unavailability and introduced seasoned pacer Hasan Ali as his replacement.
Pakistan unveiled its 15-player for the ODI World Cup
Even though Shaheen Afridi and Haris Rauf were already part of the 15-member squad, Naseem’s absence is a setback, but Pakistan aims to leverage Hasan Ali’s experience as they head to India for the World Cup.
Inzamam-ul-Haq, Pakistan’s cricket chief selector, unveiled the World Cup squad during a press conference held at Lahore’s Gaddafi Stadium on September 22, 2023.
While Pakistan’s fast bowlers are formidable, the recent underperformance of their spinners is causing concern for the team management.
Both Shadab Khan and Mohammad Nawaz had a disappointing run in the Asia Cup, yet the team has retained its confidence in these two spinners for the World Cup in India.
During the squad announcement press conference, a reporter questioned Inzamam about the struggles of these spinners and drew comparisons to India’s Kuldeep Yadav.
Kuldeep not only claimed a five-wicket haul in the Super 4 match against Pakistan but also earned the title of the series’ best player in the Asia Cup.
The reporter tried to draw a comparison between the spinners, but Inzamam delivered a humorous one-liner in response, evoking laughter from everyone in the room.
“Aapne ekdum sahi stats nikaale hain, par Kuldeep Yadav ko main select nahi kar sakta (Your stats are absolutely correct, but the thing is, I can’t select Kuldeep Yadav),” Inzamam said.
Inzamam elaborated on the choice to include Shadab and Nawaz, expressing the team’s confidence in their performance, and he mentioned that the squad also features Usama Mir as a third spinner.
“He (Kuldeep) plays for another team. With Shadab and Nawaz I have tried to keep continuity. You are right that their performances of late haven’t been to that level and we will hope that they deliver, else we do have the option of Usama Mir.”
Pakistan is scheduled to participate in two World Cup warm-up matches, beginning with one against New Zealand in Hyderabad on September 27. Another practice game will be held against Australia before their official tournament campaign begins against the Netherlands on October 6.
The highly anticipated encounter between India and Pakistan is set to happen on October 14 at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad.