Pakistan chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq said the experience of left-arm seamers Mohammad Amir and Wahab Riaz was the main reason for their late inclusion in the World Cup squad.
Both left-arm quicks were not part of the World Cup plans but after Pakistan lost the five-match series against England 4-0 with the hosts posting more than 340 in all matches, the men in green went for the tried and tested Amir and Wahab.
“Mohammad Amir was not included on our initial list of players. We couldn’t see him bowl during the series against England. But he is a senior bowler, he has vast experience of bowling in English conditions and that’s why we have selected him,” Inzamam explained.
“Wahab Riaz is one of our senior bowlers and that’s why we have given him a chance. He understands reverse swing and the best use of the old ball. We realise that there is a lack of experienced bowlers in our team so we included him in our squad as a senior bowler.”
Also, leg-spinner Shadab Khan is also in the squad after recovering from hepatitis.
England all-rounder Moeen Ali has appealed to the home crowd to not take things too far against David Warner and Steven Smith during the upcoming World Cup .
The Australian batsmen are returning after their one-year-bans for the ball-tampering episode last year. The World Cup marks their return to the international stage. This also means that they will be playing in England for the first time after the incident.
Give the fierce rivalry between the English and Aussies, both are expected to be on the radar of local fans in England.
Ali hopes that fans keep it all in good humour and not make it personal.
“I really hope they don’t get too much stick. I want them to enjoy the series,” Ali said to the Guardian.
“If you have to, keep it funny, not personal. We all make mistakes. We are human beings and we have feelings. I know deep down they are probably really good people. I just hope they get treated decently. I just want the cricket to be spoken about.”
Earlier, Australia coach Justin Langer had said Smith and Warner will require ‘sensitive monitoring’ over the next few months that includes the World Cup and Ashes in England.
“There’s not too many I’ve met in my life who like being booed or heckled or disliked so… they’re human beings,” Langer said.
Junaid Khan made his disappointment clear after being left out of Pakistan‘s final 15-man squad for the World Cup on Monday, despite having been named in the provisional squad last month.
The left-arm seamer had been one of the stars of Pakistan’s surprise triumph in the 2017 Champions Trophy, picking up eight wickets at an average of 19.37 and an economy rate of 4.58 in the last international tournament to be held in England, the venue of this summer’s competition.
Khan made his ODI debut right after the 2011 World Cup but missed out on selection for the 2015 edition of the tournament, meaning he was in line to make his debut in the competition this year.
Instead, he has been dropped along with fellow pacer Faheem Ashraf and opening batsman Abid Ali, with the two bowlers being replaced by Mohammad Amir and Wahab Riaz.
The final squad has become instantly controversial as Amir did not bowl at all in during Pakistan’s recent 4-0 series defeat against England, as the only match in which he was selected was washed out, while Riaz has not played an ODI since that Champions Trophy triumph in 2017.
Khan was selected for the third and fourth ODI of the five-match series, returning figures of 1-57 and 1-85 – the latter his last performance before the squad was announced.
And in a tweet soon after the Pakistan selectors had revealed their decision, Khan put up a picture of himself with his mouth taped shut, adding, “I don’t want to say anything. Truth is bitter.”
I dont want to say anything. Truth is bitter. (Sach karwa hotha hai) pic.twitter.com/BsWRzu0Xbh— Junaid khan 83 (@JunaidkhanREAL) May 20, 2019
At 29 this may have been Khan’s best shot at appearing in a World Cup, as he will be 33 for the next edition, due to be played in India in 2023.