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Predicting Pakistan’s T20 World Cup Squad A Bit Too Early

As the ICC T20 World Cup 2024 looms on the horizon, Pakistan will enter the tournament as NOT one of the favorites, but we all hope to see the ‘Shaheens’ lift the trophy for the second time after 2009.

With the tournament slated to kick off in the USA and West Indies in June, the fervor surrounding Pakistan’s potential lineup has reached a fever pitch.

Pakistan’s cricketing fortunes have been on a downward spiral for some time now. From the dismal showing at the Asia Cup 2023 to the agonizing 2023 ICC ODI World Cup campaign, and the recent drubbing by Australia and New Zealand across formats, the road to redemption seems fraught with challenges.

Nevertheless, hope springs eternal in the hearts of Pakistani cricket fans, who remain optimistic about the team’s prospects in the T20 format. After all, if there’s one arena where the Shaheens can still hold their own, it’s in the high-octane world of T20 cricket.

Without further ado, here’s what we think the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) will do in terms of the 15-man squad for the mega-event. It’s waaayyy to early predictions time!

1. Babar Azam (c)

Duh! This should be a no-brainer. Babar Azam was, is, and will be the best player for Pakistan, as he certainly silenced all the nay-sayers in the recently concluded Pakistan Super League (PSL 9). Despite recent leadership shuffles, Azam remains the linchpin around which Pakistan’s fortunes revolve, making his reinstatement as captain all but inevitable (reports do suggest this btw).

2. Saim Ayub

Saim Ayub’s (or as Waqar Younis likes to call him, Siyam Ayub), recent exploits in the PSL have thrust him into the spotlight. With a penchant for aggressive stroke play and a handy spin-bowling option, Ayub promises to be a formidable presence at the top of the order.

3. Mohammad Rizwan

Behind the stumps, the ever-reliable Mohammad Rizwan is poised to resume his role as Pakistan’s wicketkeeper-batsman. Rizwan’s consistency and cricketing acumen make him a crucial asset in the T20 format. Is he a sure shot starter in this T20 team though? That’s a major dilemma.

4. Shadab Khan

The mercurial Shadab Khan is expected to play a pivotal role. Despite concerns over his recent form, Shaddy’s ability to turn the game on its head with bat and ball makes him an indispensable component of Pakistan’s squad. His recent MVP of PSL 9 award might just turn around his fortunes.

5. Usman Khan

This Pakistani-born Emirati batsman has been knocking on PCB’s door for a chance to play for the Shaheens for a while. Despite playing hard-hitting knocks for Multan Sultans in the PSL, it took threatening to play for the UAE for PCB to finally notice the talent and worth of this young exciting cricketer. Usman Khan’s knack for power-hitting and explosive approach to the game adds a new dimension to Pakistan’s middle order.

6. Iftikhar Ahmed

You can’t have a Pakistani T20I squad without “IftiMania.” The explosive Iftikhar Ahmed should keep his role as Pakistan’s finisher-in-chief. His ability to accelerate the scoring rate and clear the ropes with ease makes him a potent weapon in the latter stages of an innings, as his recent form for Multan Sultans suggests.

7. Imad Wasim

One of the more ‘spicy’ names in the squad. Imad Wasim’s resurgence in the Pakistan Super League has earned him a recall to the national side. A crafty all-rounder with a knack for contributing in crunch situations (just hand him a smoke before the game though :P), Wasim’s inclusion adds depth to Pakistan’s squad.

8. Shaheen Afridi

Once considered to be the most fearsome fast bowler in all of cricket, Shaheen Shah Afridi looks like a shell of his former self. Also, his short tenure as T20I captain (still captain at this moment though, but the change is imminent) was a major flop.

Despite recent setbacks, Afridi remains one of Pakistan’s most potent bowling assets. If manages to stop trying to be a batting all-rounder like his susar jee (Shahid Afridi) and focus on his bowling, we might see the ‘Eagle’ fly again (fingers crossed).

9. Naseem Shah

Joining Afridi in the fast-bowling ranks is the returning Naseem ‘The Dream” Shah, whose exploits in the Pakistan Super League have catapulted him back into national contention. With his ability to generate pace and extract bounce, Shah adds potency to Pakistan’s pace attack.

10. Mohammad Amir

Completing the pace battery is the experienced Mohammad Amir, whose guile and experience could prove invaluable in pressure situations. Despite controversies surrounding his return, Amir’s skill with the new ball makes him a valuable asset.

However, the only issue is whether he will get along with Babar Azam after talking trash to him on national television. (you just might want to grab your popcorns. just.in.case).

11. Haris Rauf

The speedster has been overshadowed by his propensity to leak runs, Haris Rauf’s ability to generate speed and variations still make him a dangerous proposition for any opposition batsmen. We just hope he recovers in time after suffering a dislocated shoulder during the recently concluded PSL.

12. Abrar Ahmed

A young spinner with a knack for picking up crucial wickets. With his ability to turn the ball sharply, Ahmed adds variety to Pakistan’s bowling attack. Let’s hope he doesn’t do a “Shadab” and start working on his batting more than his bowling.

13. Usama Mir

Another highly-skilled spinner. Usama Mir proved that he deserves a place in the 15-man squad after becoming the leading wicket-taking bowler in PSL 9 (merit, you know). He just needs to keep his composure while playing at an international level, and not let past mishaps distract him.

14. Fakhar Zaman

The enigmatic opener whose ability to switch between destroyer and bystander leaves fans wondering which version will show up on the day, Fakhar Zaman is still a top choice for opening batsman in Pakistan’s T20I lineup.

He has been a hit and miss for a while, but when he starts hitting, Fakhar becomes one of the most destructive batsmen in the world.

15. Zaman Khan

Another talented fast bowler that deserves a place in the squad. He has death-over specialist who can bowl some good variation and yorkers. Because of his side-arm bowling action he is regularly compared to former Sri Lankan fast bowler Malinga.

As Pakistan prepares for the World Cup campaign, the selection of the final squad remains a subject of intrigue and speculation. What do you think of our 15-man squad, did we leave anyone out? Let us know in the comments below.

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Published by
Sher Alam