Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport Cricket

Asif Ali to join Pakistan’s World Cup squad despite family tragedy

The 27-year-old’s young daughter died from cancer on Sunday.

Asif Ali is in Pakistan’s World Cup squad (Mike Egerton/PA)
Asif Ali is in Pakistan’s World Cup squad (Mike Egerton/PA)

Asif Ali intends to take his place in Pakistan’s squad for the World Cup despite the death of his daughter on Sunday.

The batsman and left-arm pacemen Mohammad Amir and Wahab Riaz were omitted from the original list a month ago, but the trio have replaced Abid Ali, Junaid Khan and Faheem Ashraf in Pakistan’s final 15-man group.

However, Asif will first fly out to the United States for the funeral of his 19-month-old daughter, who died following a lengthy battle with cancer over the weekend.

— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) May 20, 2019

Press Association Sport understands Asif will link up with his team-mates at his earliest convenience.

Pakistan Prime Minister and former all-rounder Imran Khan was among those to offer his condolences to Asif, writing on Twitter: “My condolences and prayers go to Asif Ali & his family on the passing of his daughter from cancer.

“May Allah give them strength to bear such a precious loss.”

Asif contributed two half-centuries in the one-day international series against England which concluded on Sunday, the 27-year-old one of few who impressed in Pakistan’s middle order during their side’s 4-0 loss.

Inzamam-ul-Haq, chair of Pakistan men’s selection committee, said: “It has not been an easy decision to leave out Abid, particularly after he got only one opportunity on the tour. But, he was our third-choice opener.

“After both the first-choice openers struck early form, we preferred Asif Ali as he brings firepower to the team that can strengthen our chances in the tournament.”

Amir, who missed the last World Cup while serving a ban for spot-fixing, was left out of the initial squad after suffering a major dip in ODI form which has seen him take just three wickets in his last 12 innings.

bpanews_8cf1d012-e5c7-494b-9d23-2e8de580debe_embedded242399023
Mohammad Amir has secured a place in Pakistan’s World Cup squad (Mike Egerton/PA)

It seemed he would need to show some form against England to force his way into the squad, but he did not bowl a ball in the series after the only game in which he was selected was washed out at the Oval.

Amir has been included regardless, as has Wahab, despite not playing an ODI since June 2017.

The 33-year-old has been brought back in from the cold after his international career had seemingly been ended.

bpanews_8cf1d012-e5c7-494b-9d23-2e8de580debe_embedded216741841
Wahab Riaz has not played on ODI for almost two years (John Walton/PA)

Inzamam-ul-Haq said: “After it became obvious that the bat is likely to dominate the ball in the World Cup, we revisited our strategy and reverted to the pace of Mohammad Amir and Wahab Riaz.

“The bowling unit during the England ODIs has not clicked as anticipated or expected; if we have at our disposal the vastly experienced pace duo of Amir and Wahab, then it will be foolish not to include them.”

PA

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph