Shoaib Malik has reportedly been left out of the Pakistan cricket team squad for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 encounter against West Indies. (Image credit: Twitter)
Pakistan is all set to open their ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 campaign against West Indies at Trent Bridge. Sarfaraz Ahmed’s side has not had an ideal build-up heading into the tournament, losing nine out of 10 ODIs with one game being a no-result against England due to rain. Ever since their win in the ICC Champions Trophy 2017, Pakistan has won just nine out of 32 ODIs. Heading into the clash against West Indies, the Pakistan cricket team are under pressure and it has reflected in their team selected for the match against the Windies.
According to Pakistan cricket team sources, the squad sees the exclusion of Mohammad Hasnain and Shaheen Afridi but there have been plenty of questions raised over the exclusion of Shoaib Malik, who is potentially playing his last World Cup match. Malik had missed the first Twenty20 International and one ODI against England before the World Cup as the Pakistan Cricket Board granted him leave for 10 days to sort out certain ‘personal issues’.
In Pakistan’s slump since the ICC Champions Trophy, Malik has been in poor form and his selection raised questions. In 23 ODIs before the England series, he managed just 13.6 and scored just one fifty which was in the 0-5 whitewash against Australia. He was even appointed a captain for two games in South Africa after Sarfaraz Ahmed was banned for two games for racially abusing Andile Phehlukwayo in an ODI.
The inclusion of Amir and Riaz has also been questionable. Riaz, who did not play an ODI for close to two years, took three wickets in the warm-up game against Afghanistan while Amir has taken only three ODI wickets in the last year. Pakistan faces a West Indies side who are on the resurgence. In 10 World Cup encounters between the two sides, West Indies hold a massive advantage of 7-3 against Pakistan. With so much going against Pakistan, they head into this contest low on confidence and momentum. A loss in the opening game will make matters hard for Pakistan, considering their next match is against England who made a big statement of intent with a 104-run win against South Africa.