Thursday, May 30, 2024

Pakistan recalls Hasan Ali for tour to Ireland and England, delays announcing T20 World Cup squad

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ISLAMABAD (AP) — Pakistan recalled fast bowler Hasan Ali as backup for the injured Haris Rauf for Twenty20 series against Ireland and England as it searches for the right pace combination for next month’s T20 World Cup.

Selectors on Thursday said the 15-member World Cup squad will be announced after the first T20 against England on May 22. The International Cricket Council has set May 24 as the deadline for participating teams to finalize their squads.

Pakistan will play three T20s against Ireland at Dublin from May 10-14 before heading to England for four T20s from May 22-30. The World Cup in the United States and Caribbean starts June 1, and Pakistan’s opener is June 6.

Ali has taken 60 wickets in 50 T20s but hasn’t played in the format for Pakistan since the Asia Cup in September 2022. He has been playing for Warwickshire in the English County Championship Division One and came under consideration after taking 14 wickets in the Pakistan Super League while representing Karachi Kings.

Fast bowler Haris Rauf, wicketkeeper-batters Mohammad Rizwan and Azam Khan and middle-order batter Irfan Khan all are recovering from injuries and were included in the 18-member squad.

Rauf has been out of competitive cricket since dislocating his shoulder in February during the PSL but has been bowling at the National Cricket Academy in Lahore, where he’s going under rehabilitation.

Azam missed out on the drawn series against New Zealand because of a calf muscle injury he sustained on the eve of the first T20 at Rawalpindi. Rizwan and Irfan both were ruled out of the last two T20s against the Black Caps because of hamstring injuries they sustained during the third game.

“We still have time to finalize our World Cup squad and we want to look at fitness of a few players,” said Wahab Riaz, one of seven members on the selection committee.

“Hasan was under consideration and we have given him clarity that he is the backup for Haris Rauf in case he (Rauf) doesn’t fully recover.”

Leg-spinner Usama Mir and fast bowler Zaman Khan, who both featured in the series against the Black Caps, were cut. All-rounder Salman Ali Agha was recalled as an option in a spin department that also features Shadab Khan, Abrar Ahmed, Imad Wasim and Iftikhar Ahmed.

“We understand Usama and Zaman will be disappointed,” Riaz said. “They are quality cricketers and have long careers ahead of them. They need to continue to focus on their cricket so that they are available, if required.”

The selectors have given another chance to top-order batter Usman Khan, who shifted his allegiance to Pakistan, his country of birth, resulting in a five-year ban from representing the Emirates Cricket Board. Usman scored only 59 runs in four matches against New Zealand with the top score of 31, and struggled to make an impact in the drawn series.

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Squad: Babar Azam (captain), Abrar Ahmed, Azam Khan, Fakhar Zaman, Haris Rauf, Hasan Ali, Iftikhar Ahmed, Imad Wasim, Abbas Afridi, Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Rizwan, Irfan Khan, Naseem Shah, Saim Ayub, Salman Ali Agha, Shadab Khan, Shaheen Shah Afridi and Usman Khan.

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AP cricket: https://apnews.com/hub/cricket

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