Pakistan is the last team to announce their squad for the Asia Cup 2018 which will be held in the UAE from September 15. They have included six pace bowlers in their 16-member squad despite the fact that the pitches in Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium and Dubai International Cricket Stadium are historically known for being slow and spin friendly.
It’s understandable that Pakistan want to rely heavily on their fast bowlers no matter how the wicket behaves. The six pace bowlers that they have included are Mohammad Amir, Junaid Khan, Hasan Ali, Faheem Ashraf, Usman Khan and Shaheen Afridi.
Mohammad Hafeez has not been picked up by the selectors for the Asia Cup 2018. The experienced 37-year-old all-rounder was in the squad for the series against Zimbabwe but didn’t get chance to play a single match. International career of Mohammad Hafeez is in question due to not picked up for the Asia Cup 2018. Although the chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq said that Hafeez was still a part of the 20-22 players Pakistan was considering for their World Cup plans.
Pakistan seemed to be settled on opening pair in Fakhar Zaman and Imam-ul-Haq for one-day internationals. But the inclusion of the 28-year old opener Shan Masood was a surprise. Although the left handed batsman has been in tremendous form in domestic limited-overs cricket scoring three centuries and five half-centuries in his last ten List A matches but so far he has been seen as a test match player. He will make his debut in ODIs if picked up in the final eleven.
Spin department of Pakistan will be lead by Mohammad Nawaz. The experienced leg-spinner Yasir Shah did not get a place in this squad. Imad Wasim has problems with his fitness. As Mohammad Hafeez is out of the 16-member squad, Shoaib Malik might be needed to shoulder more bowling responsibility if Nawaz and Sohail don’t play.
Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur is very hopeful with the 6 feet 4 inch tall pace bowler Shaheen Afridi who is waiting for his one-day international debut. He has compared the 18-year-old pace bowler with Australia’s Mitchell Starc.
Asif Ali impressed with his performance in Zimbabwe. Haris Sohail didn’t get chance to play a single ODI match in Zimbabwe but was lucky to be picked up in the squad for the Asia Cup 2018.
Pakistan will play against India and Hong Kong in group A of the Asia Cup 2018. They will play their first match against the qualifier Hong Kong on September 16 to start their Asia Cup journey. Their match against India is to be played on September 19. Overall this Pakistan squad is full strength.
Pakistan Squad for Asia Cup 2018
Sarfraz Ahmed (Captain & Wicketkeeper), Asif Ali, Babar Azam, Faheem Ashraf, Fakhar Zaman, Haris Sohail, Hasan Ali, Imam-ul-Haq, Junaid Khan, Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Nawaz, Shadab Khan, Shaheen Afridi, Shan Masood, Shoaib Malik, Usman Khan