Pakistan finds itself under immense pressure as they prepare to face a formidable South Africa in Match 25 of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 at the M Chinnaswamy stadium in Chennai. This match holds significant importance for Pakistan, who have suffered three consecutive defeats in the competition. Despite starting the tournament with victories against the Netherlands and Sri Lanka, Pakistan has strayed from their winning form, resorting to outdated cricket strategies.
World Cup 2023
Captaincy Criticism and Squad Concerns
Captain Babar Azam has come under harsh criticism from cricket pundits back home, with some calling for his removal from the leadership position. Critics have highlighted various shortcomings in the squad, and Misbah-ul-Haq, the chairman of Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB)’s technical committee, revealed that he had suggested changes to the World Cup squad. However, Babar chose to proceed with his selection, which has raised eyebrows.
Challenges in Chennai
In India, Babar Azam has limited options, having to work with the 15 players selected for the squad. The conditions in Chennai are expected to provide a slow and low track, necessitating a few alterations in Pakistan’s lineup for the clash against South Africa.
Nawaz to Replace Shadab
Shadab Khan, the leg-spin bowling all-rounder for Pakistan, has been struggling with his bowling form, making him a likely candidate for replacement. Mohammad Nawaz, a left-arm orthodox bowler, is expected to step in for Shadab, who also missed the last match due to illness. Shadab’s inability to generate significant turn and his tendency to stick to T20-style bowling has posed challenges in the longer format.
Fakhar’s Potential Return
The status of Fakhar Zaman’s injury is a cause for concern. If he is fit, he is likely to replace the out-of-form Imam-ul-Haq in the playing 11. Fakhar, a left-arm batter, has been recovering from a knee injury and attended a practice session in Chennai on Wednesday. The decision on his selection will depend on his match fitness. Reports also suggest that if Fakhar is not fit, Abrar Ahmed could be his replacement.