Image taken by: Bimal Mirwani
Former Pakistan captain Babar Azam admitted he is glad he gave opening batsman Abdullah Shafique a chance to shine in the 2023 ICC Cricket World Cup.
The 23-year-old came into the tournament as the back-up opener to Fakhar Zaman and Imam-ul-Haq, but ended up being included in the playing XI after the opening game against the Netherlands due to Zaman’s prolonged run of poor form.
Having been given an opportunity to potentially cement his spot in the ODI team, the Sialkot native grabbed it and ended up scoring 336 runs in eight matches, which included a brilliant 113 in his first match against Sri Lanka, at an average of 42.
“I’m really happy for Abdullah Shafique and very impressed with the way he played in his first World Cup match. He was hungry to play and I saw him in the nets and he looked in good nick. I decided to play him and he took the opportunity,” Azam was quoted as saying by respected journalist Saj Sadiq on X, formerly known as Twitter.
Pakistan won their first two World Cup matches against the Netherlands and Sri Lanka before falling to India, Australia, Afghanistan and South Africa.
They fought back to defeat Bangladesh and New Zealand, but it was not enough to earn them a semi-final spot.
Pakistan wrapped up their World Cup campaign with a 93-run loss to England.
Pakistan Squad for 2023 ICC Cricket World Cup: Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Abdullah Shafique, Babar Azam (capt), Mohammad Rizwan, Saud Shakeel, Iftikhar Ahmed, Salman Ali Agha, Shadab Khan, Usama Mir, Mohammad Nawaz, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Haris Rauf, Mohammad Wasim Jnr, Hasan Ali