Cricket’s biggest festival is here! The 50-over World Cup is the most prestigious tournament in cricket and this time, the spectacle is set to be held at the home of the new superpower of world cricket, India. It is a 48-match tournament with 10 teams locking horns against each other, and one of them will be Pakistan. It is hard to predict anything about Pakistan but it would be interesting to see.
How they go about their business at the home of their arch-rivals in a big tournament like World Cup. They had a disappointing campaign in the Asia Cup recently and would be looking to make a big statement with a strong performance in the World Cup. However, do they have the arsenal and form to make it to the top four? The answer might surprise few but given the strengths of the other sides that will be competing, we might just see Pakistan missing the semifinal bus this time around. So, let’s find out the three reasons why Pakistan might fail to make it to the top four.
Fragile Batting Line-up
Pakistan’s skipper Babar Azam is one of the best batters in world cricket currently and a lot will depend on how he goes about his business in the World Cup. However, in recent times, we have seen Pakistan crumbling under pressure when Babar Azam departs early. The Number 5 is a big problem for Pakistan while Rizwan at number 4 has also been not that consistent.
Also, Pakistan lacks a power game in their batting, and with pitches expected to be flat in India, Pakistan can find themselves in trouble if the opposition team puts a big score on the board. A classic example of it was the India-Pakistan game in the Asia Cup 2023 where India posted 356 on the board and Pakistan just could not handle the pressure in the second half and were bowled out for 356.
Absence Of Quality Spinner
Pakistan has traditionally produced some world-class spinners, but in this squad, they seem short of a quality spinner. Shadab Khan is their premier spinner but has not been in the best of form in ODI cricket lately. In 2023, he picked 13 wickets in 11 matches while in 2022, he picked 5 wickets in 3 matches. Mohammad Nawaz, the other spinner has also not done anything noteworthy in ODI cricket and this can be a worry for Pakistan against quality teams.
Lack Of Experience Of Playing In India
Pakistan and India’s political tension is well known all over the world and as a result of it, India and Pakistan have not played bilateral series since 2012. Pakistan did travel to India for the T20 World Cup in 2016 but except Mohammad Nawaz, no other player was part of that squad from the current team. Nawaz too did not play a single game in that T20 World Cup, so none of the current lot of Pakistan players have played any international game in India.
This could be a big factor in the high-pressure environment of the World Cup and Pakistan will have to find ways to tackle these odds. Teams like India, Australia, England, and South Africa look better balanced and well-equipped to get through to the semis and they might just topple Pakistan in the race for the semis this time around.
Pakistan 2023 World Cup Campaign:
The ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 commences on Thursday, October 5, with the event culminating in the final on Sunday, November 19. Pakistan will play its first warmup game against New Zealand on September 29 in Hyderabad. Meanwhile, their last warmup match will be against Australia on October 3. Pakistan will start their World Cup campaign against the Netherlands on October 6 in Hyderabad. They will play against their arch-rivals India in a much-awaited contest on October 14 in Ahmedabad.
Pakistan Squad for ICC World Cup 2023:
Babar Azam(c), Fakhar Zaman, Imam ul Haq, Abdullah Shafique, Mohammad Rizwan(wk), Saud Shakeel, Iftikhar Ahmed, Salman Ali Agha, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Nawaz, Usama Mir, Hasan Ali, M Wasim Jnr, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Haris Rauf.
Travelling Reserves: Mohammad Haris, Abrar Ahmed, Zaman Khan.
Schedule of Pakistan’s Warm-Up Matches:
September 29 – vs. New Zealand in Hyderabad
October 3 – vs Australia in Hyderabad
Pakistan’s Schedule for the ICC World Cup 2023:
October 6 – vs Netherlands in Hyderabad
October 10 – vs Sri Lanka in Hyderabad
October 14 – vs India in Ahmedabad
October 20 – vs Australia in Bengaluru
October 23 – vs Afghanistan in Chennai
October 27 – vs South Africa in Chennai
October 31 – vs Bangladesh in Kolkata
November 4 – vs New Zealand in Bengaluru (Day Match)
November 11 – vs England in Kolkata
The day matches will start at 10:00 a.m. Pakistan Standard Time(PST), while all other matches will be day-night fixtures starting at 1:30 a.m.(PST).