Shadab Khan and Abrar Ahmed. (Photo Source: Gareth Copley-ICC/ICC, Matthew Lewis/Getty Images)
Not long ago, Shadab Khan was considered a sure inclusion in Pakistan’s ODI World Cup squad, but now, he finds himself facing uncertainty after a disappointing performance in the 2023 Asia Cup. With only six wickets to his name, Shadab’s poor contributions played a significant role in Pakistan’s exit.
Pakistan’s skipper, Babar Azam, expressed his disappointment with the performance of some senior players, with Shadab Khan being one of the players under scrutiny. In the wake of the news, Abrar Ahmed has emerged as a potential contender for a spot in the World Cup squad.
Abrar Ahmed’s rise began during the Test series against England, where he showcased his leg-spinning prowess. Known for his ability to bowl quicker through the air with different variations, Abrar has quickly garnered attention.
Having played only in the Test format, he has managed to amass 38 wickets in just six matches. Chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq appeared to be quite pleased with the youngster’s instant success in the longer format.
While Shadab Khan may not be dropped from the World Cup squad entirely, reports suggest that he might be stripped of his vice-captaincy role. Shaheen Shah Afridi, who had an impressive performance in the Asia Cup as the leader of the bowling attack, is a front-runner to take over as vice-captain.
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is considering various administrative changes, including potential alterations to the squad. A meeting between chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq, skipper Babar Azam, and PCB chairman Zaka Ashraf is in the works, with decisions pending approval.
Apart from Shadab Khan, opener Fakhar Zaman’s place in the World Cup squad also hangs in the balance, as he failed to score a single fifty in the Asia Cup. Additionally, Naseem Shah’s participation in the World Cup is in doubt, paving the way for Hasan Ali and Zaman Khan as potential replacements. The good news for Pakistan is that Haris Rauf is expected to regain fitness in time for the World Cup.