Afridi says Babar should have plenty of options for ODI WC 2023

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The chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Interim Selection Committee, Shahid Afridi, said on Saturday that skipper Babar Azam should have plenty of options ahead of the World Cup in India from October-November 2023.

Afridi shared his opinion on Pakistan’s preparation for the 2023 ODI World Cup, while hosting dinner for the team at his house in Karachi.

“We have given new players a chance in the upcoming New Zealand series because we want to give Babar plenty of options to finalise the combination for the World Cup,” said Afridi.

Meanwhile, pacer Naseem Shah said that Pakistan would play an adequate number of ODI matches in 2023 to prepare for the mega event.

The right-arm pacer said there is still some time left before the World Cup, and Pakistan has quite a few matches, which will help them prepare adequately.

The two-match Test series between Pakistan and New Zealand ended 0-0, depriving New Zealand of their first series win in Pakistan in 53 years.

Pakistan’s last pair, Naseem Shah and Abrar Ahmed survived 21 balls in fading light Friday, while Sarfaraz Ahmed hit a fighting century to deprive New Zealand of a victory.

Regarding the Test series, Pakistani batter Aghan Salman said, “it was an exciting series, and as a cricketer, we enjoyed that a lot. I’m sure the fans enjoyed it a lot since New Zealand is one of the best teams in the world.”

Shaheen Shah Afridi, who missed the series due to injury, was also happy to see the fightback staged by the Pakistan team. He said the Pakistan team staged a great comeback in the second Test. The entire team supports each other, said Shaheen.

Pakistan will now play three ODIs against New Zealand in Karachi. The matches will be played at National Bank Cricket Arena (NBCA) on January 9, 11, and 13.

Squads

New Zealand: Kane Williamson (captain), Tom Latham, Finn Allen, Michael Bracewell, Devon Conway, Lockie Ferguson, Daryl Mitchell, Henry Nicholls, Glenn Phillips, Mitchell Santner, Henry Shipley, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee and Blair Tickner.

Pakistan: Babar Azam (captain), Shan Masood (vice-captain), Fakhar Zaman, Haris Rauf, Haris Sohail, Imam-ul-Haq, Kamran Ghulam, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan, Mohammad Wasim Jnr, Naseem Shah, Salman Ali Agha, Shahnawaz Dahani, Tayyab Tahir and Usama Mir.