Asia Cup 2022: What can be Pakistan's starting XI?
Two-time Asia Cup winners, Pakistan, will face arch-rivals India on August 28. While Pakistan have stacked a competent set of players, they have played only one T20I this year. And, the lack of game-time in the format could pose a threat. Nevertheless, they will optimistic about a positive start to the tournament. We look at their probable XI for Asia Cup.
Babar, Rizwan hold the impetus at the opening slot
Pakistan skipper Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan carry the scoring onus onto themselves. The duo was all guns blazing in the 2021 ICC T20 World Cup, especially against India. Notably, they fetched 1,380 runs, batting together on 25 occasions, at an incredible average of 57.50, in 2021. They make the first pair with 1,000 partnership runs in a calendar year in T20Is.
Fakhar holds the key at number three
Fakhar Zaman will support Babar and Rizwan at the top order. The southpaw had a colossal run in the Pakistan Super League 2022, wherein he amassed 588 runs at 45.23. He bossed the show while striking at over 150. He would be hoping to enjoy a similar run in the forthcoming tournament, right from the opening game.
Ifthikar, Khushdil, and Asif to follow suit
Ifthikar is a solid bet at number four. He has an average of 30.11. Khushdil Shah is another fine prospect, with over 2,000 T20 runs while striking at 134.99. Asif Ali's finishing prowess was put to show in the 2021 T20 World Cup. His whirlwind knocks of 27*(12) and 25*(7) against New Zealand and Afghanistan, respectively, were a testimony to the same.
Shadab lends a voice
Shadab Khan is a proven campaigner at the international level. His leg breaks and googlies could uproot the rivals. Not to forget, he could be a big plus with the willow as was the case in PSL 2022.
A look at the bowlers
Haris Rauf has the raw pace that can unsettle the batters early on. Hasan Ali has an experience of 49 T20Is and has plenty of variations up his sleeves. Usman Qadir will look to support Shadab in the spin department. At number 11, Naseem Shah can be a handful with his raw pace. He had a solid ODI series versus West Indies.
Pakistan's probable XI for Asia Cup
Pakistan's probable XI: Babar Azam (captain), Mohammad Rizwan (wicket-keeper), Fakhar Zaman, Iftikhar Ahmed, Khushdil Shah, Asif Ali, Shadab Khan, Usman Qadir, Haris Rauf, Hasan Ali, Naseem Shah.
Pakistan's squad for Asia Cup 2022
Pakistan's squad: Babar Azam (captain), Shadab Khan, Asif Ali, Fakhar Zaman, Haider Ali, Haris Rauf, Iftikhar Ahmed, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan, Mohammad Wasim Jnr, Naseem Shah, Shahnawaz Dahani, Usman Qadir, Mohammad Hasnain.