One change likely in Pakistan playing XI

Shaheen Shah Afridi (C) celebrates with teammates after taking the wicket of India’s captain Rohit Sharma during the 2023 ICC Men´s Cricket World Cup one-day international (ODI) match between India and Pakistan at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad on October 14, 2023. —AFP
  • Pakistan mull one change in squad against Australia.
  • Usama Mir expected to be inducted in place of pacer.
  • Players suffering from fever have recovered fully.

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan may induct leg-spinner Usama Mir in the playing XI in place of a pacer against Australia on Friday, sources told The News Thursday.

Green Shirts are scheduled to play their fourth match of the ongoing ICC Men’s World Cup 2023 against the Kangaroos at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bengaluru.

“Usama may be there in the playing XI against Australia. The management is expected to rest one of the seamers to accommodate the spinner in the playing XI. However, it all depends on the nature of the wicket. As things stand today, Usama is favourite to make the playing XI,” revealed a well-placed source accompanying the team.

Usama — who was the first player to contract a viral infection ahead of the India match — has recovered fully from fever and participated in training sessions.

“He bowled well at the nets on Wednesday and as things stand at the moment, he may well see him playing the match against Australia,” the source said.

The Bangalore pitch usually is rated as batting-friendly and offers some assistance to spinners.

“It largely depends on the nature of the pitch which will be there on Friday. A typical Bengaluru pitch may well see Usama playing against Australia,” the source confided.

It is important to note that all the players, except Mohammad Haris, who had earlier fallen ill have now recovered from the infection.

Shaheen Shah Afridi, Abdullah Shafeeque, Saud Shakeel and Zaman Khan were among those who had contracted the infection.

To a question about Fakhar Zaman’s knee status, a Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) official accompanying the team, said the batter encountered the problem recently.

“He has been carrying a knee issue which sometimes gets aggravated. However, there is nothing serious as he trained at the nets and also participated in other routines.”

Currently, Pakistan stands fourth in the WC points table with four points and an NRR of -0.137 after playing three matches.

The team lost to arch-rivals India in Ahmedabad which dented their run rate.

The first stage of the 10-team tournament is a round-robin format where all teams will play each other once, resulting in 45 matches. The top four teams at the end of the first leg will qualify for the semifinals.

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