Grieving father Asif Ali to rejoin team after attending funeral for his 18-month-old daughter
Grieving father Asif Ali, fit-again Mohammad Amir and Wahab Riaz were all included on Monday in Pakistan’s final 15-man squad for the Cricket World Cup in England and Wales.
Asif’s 18-month-old daughter Noor Fatima, who had been undergoing cancer treatment in the United States, died on Sunday but he is set to link up with his teammates after her funeral in Lahore, chief selector Inzaman-ul-Haq said at a press conference. “We are with Asif in this tough time. He will return to Pakistan and then go back before the warm-up matches,” he said.
Spearhead Amir was left out of the preliminary squad after a run of poor form, but was included in the final list despite not playing in the last four one-day internationals against England due to chicken pox.
Pakistan lost the five-match series 4-0 on Sunday, with no result in the first match due to rain. Pakistan selectors recalled another left-arm paceman, Riaz, after their bowlers conceded huge totals in all four matches against England.
Haq said Riaz was being given a chance due to his experience. “We thought that during the England series we lacked experience in our bowling and that is why we have included Riaz in the squad,” he said.
The 33-year-old Riaz, who played at the 2011 and 2015 World Cups, played the last of 79 ODIs against India at the Champions Trophy in England two years ago.
There was heartbreak for fast bowler Junaid Khan, all-rounder Faheem Ashraf and opener Abid Ali, who were all included in the preliminary squad but failed to reach the final 15. For Junaid the news was particularly galling—he made the squad in 2011 but did not play and he had to withdraw in 2015 due to injury.
He tweeted a picture of himself with a piece of black tape across his mouth with the message: “I don’t want to say anything. Truth is bitter.”
Leg-spinner Shadab Khan has also recovered from illness in time for the tournament, which starts on May 30.
Pakistan World Cup squad:
Sarfraz Ahmed (captain), Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Babar Azam, Haris Sohail, Mohammad Hafeez, Shoaib Malik, Asif Ali, Imad Wasim, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Hasnain, Hasan Ali, Wahab Riaz, Shaheen Shah Afridi.