Pakistan ODI World Cup squad: Who made the cut in 2023?

The ODI World Cup 2023 is just around the corner, and excitement levels are through the roof. In this article, we deep dive into what the Pakistan ODI World Cup squad looks like.

Albeit winning the trophy in 1992, Pakistan is often tagged as the dark horse in ICC tournaments. It is going to be no different for the Men in Green when they arrive in India for this year’s World Cup. Let's look at the 15 men who could help Pakistan claim this title for the first time in 31 years.

Pakistan's ODI World Cup squad

Pakistan have already named their squad for the World Cup to be played in India. Chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq named the squad in a press conference two days ago.

While there are a few surprises included in there, we delve into how the Pakistan ODI World Cup squad shapes up for the showpiece event in India.

Specialist batsmen

Although Pakistan are known for their bowlers, it's their batting unit that will likely reflect a lot of confidence this time.

  1. Babar Azam

When you are making the Pakistan ODI World Cup squad, it is not worth debating the first name on the team sheet. Pakistan captain Babar Azam, who is also the No. 1 ODI batter, is the heart of this line-up. The ODI format suits Babar, and he, being at the peak of his powers, will not have a better chance than this to be the hero that Pakistan craves for.

  1. Fakhar Zaman

Fakhar Zaman also features in Pakistan’s 2023 World Cup squad. At the top of his game, Zaman is the third-ranked ODI batter currently and has scored four hundreds in the last three bilateral ODI series he has played. However, he struggled a bit in the Asia Cup.

  1. Imam-ul-Haq

Another strong contender to bolster the Pakistan ODI World Cup squad, Imam-ul-Haq is coming off nicely. He is situated fourth in the ODI batter rankings and had a decent series versus New Zealand in April-May this year.

  1. Abdullah Shafique

Although he has only played three ODIs so far, and even his performance in the format does not hold him in good stead, Abdullah Shafique made a good case for himself to be included in the Pakistan World Cup squad through the display of his temperament and skills in Test cricket.

Pakistan were also betting on Tayyab Tahir in the lead-in series to the World Cup. Having played well for Karachi Kings in the PSL 2023 and scoring a hundred in the Emerging Asia Cup final, he was in contention, but did not find a place in the squad.

Wicket keepers

There is no doubt about who is the wicket keeping option in the Pakistan ODI World Cup squad.

  1. Mohammad Rizwan

Even though Mohammad Rizwan has not fared well in the ODI format, Pakistan is banking on his experience to do the work needed of him in the World Cup 2023.

  1. Mohammad Haris (Travelling Reserve)

It has not been smooth sailing for Mohammad Haris in international cricket. However, the wicketkeeper possesses the capability to deliver for Pakistan on the biggest and grandest stage of them all.

Pakistan have no other wicket keeper to rely on and it isn't a surprise that Rizwan and Haris are coming to India. Haris is the travelling reserve.

All rounders

  1. Salman Ali Agha

Salman Ali Agha is still quite fresh on the international circuit. He has shone with the bat on numerous occasions. But on the bowling front, he has struggled to keep up with his A-game as an off-spinner.

  1. Shadab Khan

Shadab Khan is the vice captain of the team, and deservedly so. Batting down the order, he has been scoring useful runs for Pakistan. While his bowling performance in ODIs has dipped lately, the leggie makes a very good option in the Indian conditions, where spin could dominate the proceedings.

  1. Iftikhar Ahmed

Ever since Iftikhar Ahmed made India run for their money in the T20 World Cup 2022, you just cannot count this man out. His ODI sample size is quite limited, but there is no way Pakistan does not give him a seat on that flight to India. He is mostly used as a finisher, and while his bowling might not be up to the mark, Pakistan could very well know the value he might bring on the spin-friendly Indian pitches.

  1. Mohammad Nawaz

Mohammad Nawaz is someone who is there to play as a left-arm spinner but is no mug with the bat either. While he has decent numbers with the ball in ODIs, he has some work to put in to also make his batting come to that level.

Faheem might be amongst the all-rounders. While it is hard to predict in whose place, Pakistan in the bid to add a medium-pacer would have to sacrifice on the spin of Nawaz or Salman.

Specialist bowlers

There could be four fast bowlers and a tweaker in the Pakistan ODI World Cup squad.

  1. Shaheen Shah Afridi

Shaheen Shah Afridi is the leader of Pakistan's pace attack. He was their second-highest wicket-taker in the previous edition of the tournament and would want to replicate such a performance come the World Cup in October.

2. Hasan Ali

Hasan Ali, who has played only seven ODIs in the last four years since the 2019 World Cup, has been picked a replacement for Naseem Shah, who has been ruled out due to a shoulder injury.

  1. Haris Rauf

Pakistan has another lethal weapon in Haris Rauf. He is a three-phase bowler and makes a brilliant trio with Shaheen and Wasim Jr. 

  1. Mohammad Wasim Jr.

Mohammad Wasim Jr.'s presence in the Pakistan ODI World Cup squad says so much about their pace bowling reserves. Notably, he will only get to play if one of their three main speedsters misses out on the playing 11 for a reason.

  1. Usama Mir (Spinner)

In what came as a surprise, Pakistan picked Usama Mir in the squads for the series leading up to the World Cup. He has not played many ODIs, but Pakistan are surely keeping him in the scheme of things and want another leg-spinner alongside Shadab.

6. Zaman Khan (Travelling Reserve)

Zaman Khan recently made his ODI debut in the Asia Cup and was entrusted to bowl in the final over in the Super 4 match against Babar Azam.

7. Abrar Ahmed (Travelling Reserve)

Abrar Ahmed doesn't have a lot of experience in the white-ball formats, although he has been stupendous for Pakistan in Test cricket. Abrar played for Islamabad United in PSL 2023.

Pakistan ODI World Cup squad
Photo by Icon Sport

Pakistan's bowling line-up has everything required to be a devastating force. There is no scope for improvement in reality, despite other options like Mohammad Hasnain and Shahnawaz Dahani. In a unit already stacked with pacers, it was always impossible for them to make a cut.

Probable Pakistan ODI World Cup 2023 playing 11

Based on all permutations and combinations, Pakistan might arrive at their ODI World Cup 2023 playing 11 that could look like this:

  1. Fakhar Zaman
  2. Imam-ul-Haq
  3. Babar Azam (captain)
  4. Abdullah Shafique/Iftikhar Ahmed
  5. Mohammad Rizwan (wicketkeeper)
  6. Salman Ali Agha
  7. Mohammad Nawaz
  8. Shadab Khan
  9. Shaheen Shah Afridi
  10. Mohammad Wasim Jr
  11. Haris Rauf

Despite not playing in India since 2016, Pakistan is not at all alien to the conditions there. Most probably, the pitches in India will be identical to how they are in all of the sub-continent. This could help Pakistan a lot. And to have three batters among the top five in the ODI rankings is anyways a luxury.

Not to forget how brutal their pace attack is. Quite possibly the best in the tournament. The likes of Shaheen and Haris will be in Pakistan’s starting 11, while they have someone like Wasim Jr. as a backup.

Notwithstanding these strengths, there are a few holes in this ship. The top order looks immaculate. But the same cannot be said for the batters following. They look iffy and must pull up their socks before the competition kicks off.

Also, their spin-bowling unit may or may not work. It just adds another question mark. But the kind of pace bowlers Pakistan have, they can limit the extent of this shortcoming.

Bren Gray

Bren Gray

Bren is our resident Kiwi, and has been playing or watching sports down under in New Zealand for the better part of three decades. With 12+ years' experience as a professional writer, Bren loves to dive deep into all things cricket to bring the best betting analysis, predictions and news here at CricNerds.com.