Mohammad Amir left out of Pakistan's World Cup squad
Pacer Mohammad Amir, the hero of Pakistan's previous triumph in an ICC tournament, will not play the World Cup in England as things stand. He was not part of the 15-member squad named by the PCB on Thursday for the showpiece event. Left-arm pacer Usman Shinwari also missed out. Another significant name missing from list was power-hitter Asif Ali.
Amir will, however, travel to England for the preceding ODI series against England. His non-inclusion for the World Cup should come as no surprise, going purely by the numbers. Since that stunning showing in the final of the Champions Trophy final - incidentally, also in England - he has taken five ODI wickets in 101 overs of bowling at an average of 92.60 per wicket, the worst numbers among all bowlers to have sent down over 600 balls in this period
The deadline to announce squads is April 23, but teams can make changes till May 23 without seeking permission from the ICC's event technical committee. ESPNcricinfo understands the April 23 date was put in place to allow the ICC to proceed with logistics like hotel and flight bookings.
PCB chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq announced the squad at a press conference at Gaddafi Stadium, and said the side had been picked according to the conditions and included reliable batters, trusted wicket-taking bowlers and dynamic fielders.
"In England and Wales, conditions play a critical role. With this in mind, we have selected a three-dimensional side, which gives the captain a wide range of options of whatever game plan he chooses on a match day. We have experienced batters, who are backed up by bowlers with plenty of variety and variation to exploit any type of conditions.
"This is more or less the side we have been playing since the ICC Champions Trophy 2017. I have absolute trust that this side has grown further in experience and stature since 2017. Supported by the flair, skill, talent and killing-instinct, this side has the capability and potential to rise to the occasion and produce strong performances. While picking the side, we've tried to cover all bases by assessing our strengths as well as analysing each opponent, the match venues and the event format."
Before the World Cup, Pakistan travel to England for a one-off T20 and five ODIs. Amir apart, the other addition to the World Cup squad for the England series is Asif Ali. Asif has 200 runs in the eight ODI innings he has played for Pakistan in the lower-middle order, with a highest of 50 not-out and, importantly, a strike rate of 130.71. One could argue he is one of the few power-hitting options for Pakistan at the moment, but there remained the question of balance to the XI should he have been included for the World Cup.