Pakistan’s World Cup preparations have long been marked by injuries and scandalous incidents. This trend has persisted across decades with notable examples like Shoaib Akhtar’s doping ban prior to 2007 World Cup; Mohammad Amir’s ban for spot-fixing ahead of 2011 World Cup; bowling bans issued against Saeed Ajmal and Mohammad Hafeez for illegal bowling actions prior to 2015 World Cup all becoming regular occurences for Pakistan as major tournaments approach. Unfortunately it seems Pakistan must expect setbacks just prior major tournaments before major events begin, becoming routine! It seems setbacks before major tournaments come around regularly!
Pakistan team: Squad Update
Pakistan entering any tournament at full strength seems almost too good to be true, yet they look all set for the 2023 World Cup with all bases covered. Their top order boasts of world-class talents including Babar Azam, Fakhar Zaman and Imam ul Haq who rank within the top five ODI batsman; Agha Salman and Iftikhar Ahmed provide additional middle order depth; Usama Mir’s return enhances spin options further while Shaheen Afridi, Naseem Shah and Haris Rauf lead their pace attack which makes up one of the world’s strongest fast bowling arsenals globally.
Everything seems to be going according to plan except for Pakistan Cricket Board’s planning. With their pacers carrying heavier workloads than expected and team management failing to address issues related to them adequately, Pakistan may never reach full strength at a World Cup tournament.
PCB action: NOC’s granted
PCB has granted multiple players no-objection certificates (NOCs) to participate in various franchise leagues even ahead of major events, like Asia Cup and World Cup tournaments, raising questions as to their readiness to field an fully-strength team at these competitions. This practice casts serious doubt upon our chances at entry.
Consequences of such lacness have become evident during events like the T20 World Cup, where Shaheen Afridi’s injury compromised team performance. Former PCB Chairman Ramiz Raja stated that Afridi’s participation despite fitness concerns was taken as a calculated gamble due to its significance for team management.
Unfortunately, PCB seems oblivious to this lesson learned. Following their Test series against Sri Lanka, PCB allowed its star pacers Naseem Shah and Shaheen Afridi to participate in leagues like Lanka Premier League and The Hundred; both also took part in England’s T20 Blast earlier in 2018.
The significance of players taking advantage of opportunities presented by various leagues, particularly given they miss out on lucrative IPL contracts. But to permit franchise league play just prior to Asia Cup is just asking for trouble; PCB should take a more conservative approach by prioritizing fast bowlers’ well-being over compensation packages for top pacers; this would ensure their bodies had sufficient rest before undertaking commitments such as Afghanistan series, Asia Cup, World Cup and Australian Test tour commitments.
Depart of Shaheen & Haris
Shaheen Afridi and Haris Rauf instead opt to arrive in Lahore on August 16, after playing their final match of The Hundred on August 14. On August 17, they will depart to play against Afghanistan starting August 22 in an ODI series that starts off August 17.
Naseem’s Injury: Out of Asia Cup 2023 and World Cup 2023 Squad
Meanwhile, Naseem Shah is already competing in the Lanka Premier League where unfortunately he sustained a shoulder injury, leading him to miss a must-win game for Colombo Strikers on Tuesday due to this. Unfortunately, however, its full extent remains undetermined at present.
Unfortunately for Pakistan, their situation appears to be following an all-too familiar course, where key players continue to depart prior to every World Cup tournament.
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