- Double whammy for Pakistan selectors.
- Selectors hold meetings ahead of team announcement for England series.
- Sarfaraz Ahmed may get a chance if Mohammad Rizwan is rested.
The national selection committee is facing a tough time in announcing the team for the England series and the T20 World Cup in Australia amid multiple fitness issues and poor performance in the recently concluded Asia Cup 2022.
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is supposed to finalise the squad for the seven-match series in a couple of days while the world cup cut-off date for team submission is September 15.
According to a report by The News, chief selector Mohammad Wasim, captain Babar Azam and head coach Saqlain Mushtaq held a meeting on Tuesday and are expected to meet again over the next two days to decide on the formation of the team for the upcoming international outings.
It is unlikely that Pakistan will go on to meet the deadline set forth by the International Cricket Council (ICC) to name the team for the World Cup and might request an extension.
“We have not yet requested the ICC for any extension in deadline but that is possible if the selectors desire so. There have been traditions where the ICC in some cases has given extra time to a member country to submit names for important events. I think the situation would get clear within the next two days,” a source within the board said.
Who is fit, who isn’t
Besides Shaheen Shah Afridi who is undergoing rehab in London, the national selectors are not sure at this point whether all the players who represented Pakistan in the Asia Cup are fully fit to take on England.
“The injury to Mohammad Rizwan, Shadab Khan and Shahnawaz Dahani is a real concern. Selectors are waiting for the expert opinion on cricketers’ injury status before finalising the team for the England series, a source confided to the publication.
About Afridi, the source added, he would not be in a position to play the first five matches against England and depending on his fitness status he may be selected to play at least one of the matches before heading to New Zealand for the tri-series.
Sarfaraz Ahmad likely to make the cut
Wicketkeeper-batter Mohammad Rizwan, who played the last two Asia Cup matches with knee problems, is also likely to be rested at least for the first half of the series against England.
Shadab’s injury status is also not clear yet. However, all these injured players have time at their disposal to get fit and ready before the team departs for New Zealand in the first week of October.
One of the tricky questions selectors face at present is the selection of an extra wicketkeeper with the squad to Down Under.
In case the selectors go in favour of a second wicket-keeper for the T20 World Cup, it is likely that he would be given a chance against England.
Chances are there that Sarfaraz Ahmed may be asked to keep wickets against England at least for the first half of the England series. In that case we may well see the reserve wicket-keeper travelling with the team to Down Under.
Extra player in World Cup squad
“Option of including one extra player in the T20 World Cup squad on all expenses paid by the ‘PCB’ is also under consideration,” the sources said.
“Apart from a 15-member squad, one of two extra players may be included in the team for the tri-series and later for the World Cup. However, these players would only participate in the World Cup, if some genuine injury problems erupt in between. Chances, however, are there that a reserve wicketkeeper may be included in the 15-member World Cup team, at the expense of a genuine batter.”
Pakistan squad for World Cup 2023 announced
- Chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq unveiled squad.
- Hasan Ali replaces injured Naseem Shah.
- Pakistan enter mega-event as number one ranked side.
LAHORE: In a much-awaited announcement, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has finally revealed the 15-member squad for the upcoming ICC World Cup 2023.
The announcement of Pakistan’s squad faced unexpected delays as the team management held consultations following a humiliating exit from the Asia Cup and the injuries faced by major bowlers during the tournament.
Chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq unveiled the squad at Lahore’s Gaddafi Stadium.
Babar Azam will captain the team, while Shadab Khan remains the team’s vice-captain. Hasan Ali has been called in to replace pacer Naseem Shah — who has been ruled out from the tournament due to his shoulder injury.
Ali, however, will be returning to one-day international (ODI) cricket after a year-long hiatus following his last appearance against West Indies in Multan in 2022.
“We were forced to make one change because of an unfortunate injury to Naseem Shah. We had a few injury scares in the recent Asia Cup, but I am glad to share that all the players are fully fit and are eager to perform for their country in the all-important tournament. I have received encouraging reports from our medical panel about Haris Rauf. He has started to (shadow) bowl at the National Cricket Academy and will be available for selection,” said Inzamam while speaking during a press conference today.
“I have a firm belief that this squad can bring the World Cup trophy to Pakistan and make the whole nation proud with their incredible performances. It is time to get behind our team and provide them with the backing and support that they need.”
Babar Azam’s side enters the mega-event as the number one ranked side and enjoys the best win/loss ratio of 2.4 in this World Cup cycle for any side that has played the ODI format.
The ICC World Cup 2023 will take place in India with 10 teams fighting for the elusive title across 10 venues from October 5 to November 19, with the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad hosting the tournament opener and the final.
The Cricket World Cup will be played in a round-robin format, with all teams playing against each other for a total of 45 league matches.
The top four teams will qualify for the semifinals, which will be held in Mumbai on November 15 and in Kolkata on November 16. The semi-finals and the final will have reserve days.
Babar Azam (c), Shadab Khan, Abdullah Shafiq, Fakhar Zaman, Haris Rauf, Hasan Ali, Iftikhar Ahmed, Imam-ul-Haq, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), M Wasim Jnr, Saud Shakeel, Salman Ali Agha, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Usama Mir.
Mohammad Haris, Zaman Khan, Abrar Ahmed.
Naseem Shah to undergo surgery
LAHORE: Star pacer Naseem Shah has been advised surgery and will recover in three to four months, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) said Friday.
Naseem suffered a shoulder injury during Asia Cup 2023 in a match against India on 11 September and was ruled out of the tournament.
“Following thorough medical examinations and consultations with leading medical experts, Naseem has been advised to undergo surgery,” the board said in a statement released today announcing the squad for the ICC World Cup 2023.
He has been replaced with Hasan Ali in the 15-member squad.
“Naseem Shah is a key bowler for us, but he’s injured,” PCB chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq told reporters in Lahore today.
“Unfortunately, the report we have from our doctors, we hear Naseem will be out for a longer time than just the World Cup. At this time, he was the world’s best bowler in my view. It’s a loss for Pakistan. We hope he’s fit soon.”
Pakistan’s pace attack will be led by Shaheen Shah Afridi and he will be supported by Haris Rauf, Mohammed Waseem, and Ali in a largely unchanged side led by Babar Azam.
Babar Azam (captain), Shadab Khan, Abdullah Shafique, Fakhar Zaman, Haris Rauf, Hasan Ali, Iftikhar Ahmed, Imam-ul-Haq, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan, Mohammad Wasim Jnr, Salman Ali Agha, Saud Shakeel, Shaheen Shah Afridi and Usama Mir.
Record number of Pakistanis to participate in Berlin Marathon 2023
KARACHI: Running a marathon is no easy feat by any stretch of the imagination but an ever-increasing group of Pakistanis have taken it upon themselves to make their country proud in this prestigious field.
While the world waits with bated breath to see whether Eliud Kipchoge can become the only runner to win the Berlin Marathon five times, Pakistan’s largest-ever contingent in a World Marathon Major event will also look to etch their names in the annals of history.
More than 60 Pakistanis are preparing to participate in the Berlin Marathon on September 24, which includes 14 female marathon runners, where they will cover a distance of 42.195 kilometers.
While these marathoners might not get the same attention as cricketers in Pakistan but that doesn’t deter them from achieving their goals.
The Berlin Marathon is renowned as one of the fastest marathons globally, with Kenyan runner Kipchoge setting a world record in 2022 by completing the marathon in 2 hours, 1 minute, and 9 seconds.
Among the participants, 38 are traveling from Pakistan, while several are joining from UAE, USA, Germany, Austria, UK, and Australia.
Notable participants include Muhammad Sajjad, a national athlete, who has previously represented Pakistan in Nepal and Bangladesh and completed the Dhaka Marathon in 2 hours and 42 minutes 41 seconds. Sajjad is now aiming for a new record in his first World Major.
Another standout is Sadiq Shah, the fastest Pakistani runner in the history of the London Marathon, who is competing in Berlin with the goal of surpassing his own marathon time of 2 hours, 55 minutes, and 20 seconds.
Meanwhile, Faisal Shafi is returning for his second Berlin Marathon and is on a path to becoming an Abbott 6 Star finisher next year. Faisal and Sadiq Shah also qualified for the Boston Marathon in 2024.
Along with Faisal Shafi, Muhammad Sajjad, Sadiq Shah, Amin Mukaty and Abdul Rehman are also aiming for new records for Pakistan in the Berlin Marathon.
Women defying the limits
A significant highlight of Pakistan’s participation in this event is the presence of 14 Pakistani female runners from diverse backgrounds. These women are breaking barriers and pushing their limits.
Hira Diwan, a Pakistani British corporate banker and marathon runner, has already completed marathons in Chicago, New York, Paris and Chester, in addition to four London Marathons. The Berlin Marathon will mark her 10th full marathon.
Uzma Abid, a dedicated crossfitter and experienced fitness trainer, brings a remarkable level of physical fitness and discipline to the Berlin Marathon. Notably, she is also a mother of two children, highlighting the incredible balance she has struck between her roles as a parent and a passionate athlete. Uzma Abid’s commitment to running marathons was evident in her participation in the Istanbul Marathon in 2021, where she showcased her endurance and determination on a global stage.
On the other hand, Kaukab Sarwar is a driven full-time corporate executive who juggles her professional responsibilities with her passion for long-distance running. As the mother of a 13-year-old, Kaukab’s journey in marathon running is particularly inspiring. Berlin marks her third World Marathon Major, a testament to her dedication and perseverance. Notably, she has set her sights on the Chicago Marathon, demonstrating her ambition to conquer new challenges and achieve remarkable milestones in the world of long-distance running.
Additionally, Dr. Zahra Hoodbhoy, Shumaila Bukhari, Nadia Rehman, Nada Anwar, Sana Malik, Anum Jehangir and Pakistani British lawyer Shanze Shah are part of this year’s Pakistani Women’s group at the Berlin Marathon.
Sara Lodhi, a UAE based Pakistani athlete who ran the Tokyo marathon earlier this year, is running her first Berlin Marathon. She is brand ambassador of Spartan Arabia, the only Pakistani on the Spartan podium, and also qualified for the Boston Marathon in Munich Marathon 2022.
Dr. Rabia Naeem, an experienced Pakistani pediatrician based in the USA, and Rohela Khan from the UK are also taking part in the event.
Pakistani-American Abbott Six Star finishers take part in Berlin 2023
Three Pakistani-origin Abbott Six Star finishers are attending this event, including Dr. Salman Khan, a nephrologist based in Dallas, Texas, who became the first Pakistani-origin 6 Star finisher in Tokyo earlier this year.
The list also includes Prem Kumar, a US-based Pakistani-American runner, who achieved 6 Star status earlier this year at the London Marathon and Aisha Qamar, a US-based marathon runner.
Rehan Admajee from Karachi who is studying at Harvard Kennedy School of Govt & Harvard Business school is coming to Berlin Marathon aiming for a Boston qualifying time.
Muhammad Junaid, an anchorperson for Geo News, who completed the Boston and London Marathons in April this year, will be running his third World Major in Berlin and his fourth in Chicago next month. He has partnered with the British Heart Foundation UK and St. Jude Children’s Cancer Hospital USA for these marathons.
Increase in number of participants from Pakistan
The credit for this significant participation of runners from Pakistan goes to local running clubs and the supportive environment created by sports organizations in Pakistan. These entities have fostered an environment and support system for individuals to pursue health, fitness, and marathon training.
Notable contributors include the Seaview Runners Club, co-founded by Adnan Gandhi, a fitness professional who has previously completed marathons in Chicago and London.
The Wednesday Night Pacers, another Karachi-based running club, has enabled a substantial number of runners to represent Pakistan in global sporting events. Danish Raza, the founder of this club, will also be running the Berlin Marathon, along with many of his club runners, including Amin Mukaty and Abdul Rehman, who are among the fastest runners from Pakistan.
Bilal Ehsaan, co-founder of the Islamabad Running Club, will also participate in the Berlin Marathon alongside Yawar Siddiqui, Ammar Mumtaz, and Rehman Azhar.
Additionally, a group of enthusiastic participants is set to join the Berlin Marathon, further adding to the Pakistani representation.
Triathlete Miqdad Mohammed is running his first marathon, he has done IRONMAN previously in UAE and Oman.
Ali Khurshid, Shah Faisal Khan, Abdul Samee, Ayaz Abdulla, Zain Anwar, Zohair Agha, Imran Aleem, Irfan Aleem, Ibaad Lari, Jahanzeb Sherwani, Fauzi Gharib, Ahmed Ilyas, Hassan Madni, Anis Kasmani, Adeel Paperwala, Hassan Currimbhoy, Anees Khawja, Dr. Rizwan Khawaja, Dr. Saad Usmani, Ahmer Khan, Muhammad Babar Ali, Azmat Ali, Jamal Khan, Dr. Ahmed Zubair Babar Ghias, Haseeb Usmani and Sheharyar Salam will also be joining the Berlin Marathon.
Journalist Sarah Munir is participating in the Amsterdam marathon, which will be taking place on 15th October.
Journalist and anchorperson Rehman Azhar will be running both the Berlin and Chicago Marathons, while Dr. Salman Khan and Prem Kumar are also returning for the Chicago Marathon.
Dr. Jehannzeb Mughal, who ran the London Marathon earlier this year to raise funds for oral cancer patients in Pakistan, will also be running the Chicago Marathon along with Danish Elahi and Noshwerwan Ali as part of a team.
Meanwhile, Fahd Mukhar has run five of World Marathon Majors, New York Marathon twice and is now set to become Abbot 6 Star finisher in Chicago Marathon.
Bacha Hussain, Rehman Azhar Dr Rabia Naeem, Unaiza Raza, Taha Ghafoor, Imtiaz Ahmed, Babar Ghias and Muhammad Fasih will also take part in the Chicago Marathon.
Their participation reflects the growing passion and dedication of Pakistani athletes on the international stage, further enriching the diverse representation from the country in this prestigious event.
Start and finish area of Berlin Marathon
Event schedule (local time)
Sunday, September 24, 2023
08:50am: Handbiker (Elite)
08:57am: Wheelchair competitors
from 09:15am: Runners (in four waves)
Time limit: 6:15 hours (after passing the time measure mat)
Cut-off point at KM 33 at 3:50pm
Cut-off point at KM 38 at 4:35pm
Participants who are unable to reach one of these points by the indicated time will leave the official course and continue on the sidewalk or ride in the “broom waggon” to the finish.
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