Inzamam-ul-Haq had a witty remark as he replied to a question about Pakistan spinners underperforming in ODIs.

Agencies/JK News Today

Sept., 23: Pakistan announced their 15-member squad for the ODI World Cup on Friday, with Naseem Shah’s absence being the major talking point. Naseem had faced a shoulder injury during the Asia Cup clash against India earlier this month, and was doubtful for the marquee global tournament. His absence was eventually confirmed by chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq, who further announced senior pacer Hasan Ali as Naseem’s replacement. With Shaheen Afridi and Haris Rauf already in the 15-member squad, the absence of Naseem is a blow but Pakistan would aim to capitalize on Hasan’s experience as they travel to India for the World Cup.

But while Pakistan boast of a strong pace attack, their spinners’ recent struggles will be a point of concern for the team management. Pakistan’s spin duo of Shadab Khan and Mohammad Nawaz failed to make a mark in the Asia Cup but the side continued to place its faith on the two players for the World Cup in India. During squad announcement press conference, a reporter asked Inzamam on the duo’s struggles and further compared their performances to India’s Kuldeep Yadav, who not only took a five-wicket haul in the Super 4 game against Pakistan but also ended as player of the series in Asia Cup.

The reporter attempted at comparing the spinners but Inzamam had a rather hilarious one-liner in reply, which left the entire room in splits.

“Aapne ekdum sahi stats nikaale hain, par Kuldeep Yadav ko main select nahi kar sakta (Your stats are absolutely correct, but the thing is, I can’t select Kuldeep Yadav),” Inzamam said.

Further explaining the decision to pick Shadab and Nawaz, Inzamam said that the side hopes on the duo to deliver and further added that the squad also has Usama Mir as a third spinner. “He (Kuldeep) plays for another team. With Shadab and Nawaz I have tried to keep continuity. You are right that their performances of late haven’t been to that level and we will hope that they deliver, else we do have the option of Usama Mir.”

Pakistan at World Cup

Pakistan will take part in two World Cup warm-up matches, with the first being on September 27 against New Zealand in Hyderabad. The side will take on Australia in another practice game before kickstarting its campaign in the tournament against the Netherlands on October 6.