Pakistan have not played a one-day international in India since 2012-13, but have already beaten New Zealand and Afghanistan comfortably this calendar year in the format.
While cricket is not officially the national sport in Pakistan, that has been hockey, it is hard to walk through a park on a day off without seeing hundreds of people of all ages, bat and ball in hand emulating their heroes.
For the national side, they will want to impress not only in India but on cricket’s biggest stage, after unconvincing performances during the recent Asia Cup.
In the last 50-over World Cup back in 2019, Pakistan narrowly missed out on qualification for the knockout rounds, finishing level on points with fourth-placed New Zealand who went on to become tournament runners up, but behind them on net run rate.
But the nation has a rich cricketing history in the format and in the sport, especially when they lifted the trophy in 1992, beating England in the final in Australia. It was a side that contained some of the biggest names in the sport, Imran Khan, Wasim Akram, Javed Miandad and Inzamam-ul-Haq.
After an absence of tours of the country from 2009 to 2015 Pakistan cricket has rebounded, hosting Australia, New Zealand and England in the last two years. The country’s flagship franchise tournament, the Pakistan Super League has also attracted some of the biggest stars in the game alongside developing domestic talent.
Babar Azam’s team will want to impress in a tournament that, unlike the T20 World Cup, only comes around every four to five years. But the side’s chances of success were dealt a blow during the Asia Cup when Naseem Shah sustained a problematic shoulder injury that was more serious than feared and he was not included in their World Cup squad.
Haris Rauf sustained an injury during the Asia Cup, but the Pakistan Cricket Board has since posted videos of the fast bowler training and he was included in the final confirmed 15.
Confirmed 15-man squad:
Babar Azam (captain) (batter)
Salman Ali Agha
Shaheen Shah Afridi
Pakistan have also named three travelling reserves, Mohammad Haris, Abrar Ahmed and Zaman Khan.
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