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PCB Announces Squad for ICC World Cup 2023: Babar Azam to Lead

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) announced its squad for the upcoming ICC World Cup 2023, set to take place in India. World’s No.1 ODI batter, Babar Azam, will be leading the team in the biggest cricketing event.

Hasan Ali is back in the team. He is replacing Naseem Shah who got injured in the shoulder during the Asia Cup 2023. Hasan Ali last played a one-day international (ODI) match for Pakistan in 2022 against West Indies.

The team was announced by Inzamam-ul-Haq, the chief selector, at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore.

The team includes Babar Azam (captain), Abdullah Shafique, Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Iftikhar Ahmed, Mohammad Rizwan (wicketkeeper), Shadab Khan, Mohammad Nawaz, Usama Mir, Haris Rauf, M Wasim Jnr, Hasan Ali, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Saud Shakeel, and Salman Ali Agha. Mohammad Haris, Abrar Ahmed, and Zaman Khan will be the backup players.

The team is a bit different from the one that played in the Asia Cup 2023. All-rounder Faheem Ashraf is not in the team, and wicketkeeper-batter Mohammad Haris is now part of travelling reserve.

The ICC World Cup 2023 will be in India with ten teams competing across ten distinct venues from October 5 to November 19. The grand opening and the final match are both set to take place at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad.

All teams will play against each other in 45 league matches. The top four teams will play in the semi-finals in Mumbai on November 15 and in Kolkata on November 16. If any of these matches can’t be played on these days, they have reserve days.

Before the tournament starts, Pakistan will play two practice matches against New Zealand on September 29 and Australia on October 3. Their first tournament match will be against the Netherlands on October 6.

Babar Azam’s team is the top-ranked team. They have the best win/loss ratio of 2.400 in this World Cup cycle for any team that has played the ODI format.

In the 2019 World Cup, Pakistan couldn’t make it to the semi-finals because their net run-rate was lower than New Zealand’s.

The best performance of the Pakistan team was in 1992 when they won the World Cup by defeating England. Pakistan also reached the final in 1999 and the semi-finals in 1979, 1983, 1987, and 2011.

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