Image taken by: Bimal Mirwani
Haroon Rasheed, the former chief selector, believes it is too early to say whether veteran wicketkeeper-batsman Sarfaraz Ahmed will be picked for the 2023 ICC Cricket World Cup.
Sarfaraz, who used to captain the men in green, has not played limited overs cricket since 2021.
Despite this being the case, Rasheed said “you can’t rule anyone out”, especially considering that Pakistan will need batsmen who are capable of thriving against spin bowling, which is one of Sarfaraz’s strengths.
Ultimately, it will be down to the national selectors to pick the team they feel will have the best chance of winning the World Cup – something Pakistan have not done since their inaugural triumph in 1992 under the captaincy of Imran Khan.
“Talking about his performance in One Day and shorter formats, it is obviously premature,” Rasheed told Cricket Pakistan. The Asia Cup is happening in Sri Lanka, and we don’t know what decision will be made for the World Cup in India.
“There are spin-friendly and slow pitches there, where you need batters who can play spinners well. So you can’t rule anyone out, but when we sit down for the final selection, we will weigh their good and bad points and see who can benefit us more in those conditions, and then decisions will be made.”
Sarfaraz recently represented Pakistan in their two-Test series against Sri Lanka, but was limited to 32 runs at an average of 16 since he was replaced by Mohammad Rizwan midway through the second Test in Colombo after being struck on the helmet.
The 36-year-old from Karachi was not picked for the three-match ODI series against Afghanistan, which the men in green won 3-0.
He also failed to make the cut for the Asia Cup, where Pakistan have beaten Nepal by 238 runs, shared one point apiece with India after their match was rained off, and defeated Bangladesh by seven wickets. However, their unbeaten streak came to an end when India demolished them by 228 runs in the Super Four stage.
Pakistan’s next Super Four match will be against Sri Lanka on September 14 in Colombo.
Pakistan Squad for 2023 Asia Cup: Babar Azam (capt), Shadab Khan, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Saud Shakeel, Fakhar Zaman, Abdullah Shafique, Imam-ul-Haq, Saud Shakeel, Salman Ali Agha, Iftikhar Ahmed, Mohammad Nawaz, Usama Mir, Haris Rauf, Naseem Shah, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Mohammad Haris (wk), Faheem Ashraf, Mohammad Wasim Jnr, Shahnawaz Dahani, Zaman Khan.
Travelling reserve: Tayyab Tahir