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Three pacers who can replace Naseem Shah in Pakistan’s squad for the 2023 World Cup

While India lifted the coveted Asia Cup 2023 title, arch-rivals Pakistan endured a tough campaign and failed to reach the final.

The Babar Azam-led unit lost against India and Sri Lanka in the Super Fours stage, capping their disappointing campaign. Not only did the team fail to perform as a whole, but they also had to deal with injuries during the tournament.

One of his star pacemakers, Naseem Shah, also suffered an injury during the Asia Cup match against India. Naseem could not complete his quota of 10 overs in the game and was sent off the field. It was later revealed that he had complained of a shoulder injury.

Unfortunately for Pakistan, the likelihood of Naseem playing in the next ODI World Cup 2023 It’s low too.

In the post-match press conference, captain Babar Azam suggested that Naseem might not play in the initial stages of the World Cup. However, recent news indicates that the player will not be able to recover in time and will most likely miss the entire World Cup.

So what are Pakistan’s options? Let’s take a look at three pacers who can be considered as possible replacements for Naseem Shah if the 20-year-old does not recover in time.

#3 Hasan Ali

Hasan Ali has experience on his side (Getty Images)

After falling out of favor with the senior team, there are reports suggesting that Hasan Ali could be added to Pakistan’s squad for the ODI World Cup.

The right-arm spinner is famous for his menacing performances in the ICC Champions Trophy in 2017. Ali took 13 wickets in just five games in that event and was also the Player of the Tournament when Pakistan won the Champions Trophy title.

However, things have not been rosy for him since then, with the seamer performing poorly with the ball, especially since last year. Since 2022, he has taken just seven wickets in nine international games across all formats for Pakistan.

As a result, the management expelled him from the team. His most recent appearance in international cricket came in January 2023, when he featured in a Test match against New Zealand.

However, if Pakistan wants to add some experience to their pace attack, they could well try to give Ali a wildcard entry for the World Cup. He has played 132 international matches for his country and has taken a total of 229 wickets across the three formats.

#2 Shahnawaz Dahani

Shahnawaz Dahani is a passionate pacer from Pakistan (Getty Images)

Not long ago, Shahnawaz Dahani was replaced by Naseem Shah in the Pakistan first team. Naseem’s rapid rise in international cricket led to Dahani ending up on the bench.

However, Pakistan could well give Dahani a chance to once again prove his worth and fit into the first team. A pacer who hits the deck hard, the 25-year-old can be a good option for Babar Azam and co. as he seems to have a knack for causing problems for opposing hitters.

Dahani also has some international experience on his side as he has played nine T20Is and a couple of ODIs for Pakistan so far. He has also taken a total of nine wickets in his 11 international games.

It is pertinent to note that Dahani flew to Sri Lanka at short notice during the recently concluded Asia Cup.

He came in as backup for Haris Rauf, who was injured during the team’s match against India. However, his stay was short-lived as Pakistan was eliminated from the tournament on the same day of his arrival.

#1 Zaman Khan

Zaman Khan made his ODI debut against Sri Lanka in the 2023 Asia Cup (Getty Images)

The bowler with the least experience in ODI cricket on the list, Zaman Khan, could well be another option for Pakistan.

The youngster recently made his ODI debut against Sri Lanka in an Asia Cup 2023 match. Even though Pakistan lost the game by two wickets, Zaman impressed everyone with his bowling.

Although he failed to pick up any ground, he bowled with a big heart. Tasked with defending just eight runs late in the game, the 22-year-old dished out some brilliant yorkers and almost won his team the crucial game.

With his aggressive action, Zaman could be an unorthodox pick for Pakistan ahead of the World Cup. He could complement the other two guaranteed pacers Shaheen Afridi and Haris Rauf very well and could also provide assistance in death bowling.

Zaman could be Pakistan’s pick for the next ICC mega event, especially considering that Babar Azam was also banking on him to bowl some crucial overs in the Asia Cup.

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