Pak vs WI: PCB mulls including backup players in ODI squad

Pakistan pacer Shaheen Afridi greets a WI batter during a cricket match. — AFP/File
  • Sources within PCB say options, whether to call back all leading players from ongoing county cricket in England under discussion.
  • Say there are fears that any attempt to field a weak team against West Indies could prove ineffective.
  • PCB protagonists engage in consultation on formation of camp probables for Pak vs WI series.

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Cricket Board’s (PCB) think-tank and selectors are mulling options to include some of the backup players for the upcoming three-match One-Day series between Pakistan and West Indies, The News reported.

Well-placed sources said that a meeting held on Wednesday discussed several options for the upcoming ODI series against the Windies.

The meetings discussed the options of either calling back leading players from ongoing county cricket in England or including backup players in the squad.

They said that the meeting received suggestions to keep some of the leading players like Shaheen Shah Afridi and Hassan Ali in the county cricket and call some backup cricketers such as Mohammad Wasim Jr, Shahnawaz Dhani, and others to take the opportunity to play ODI series starting June 7.

However, the meeting also feared that any attempt to field a weak team against the West Indies could prove ineffective.

“Since the three matches are to be played in connection with the qualifying round for the World Cup 2023, any undue risk could land the hosts in trouble. Nothing has been finalised as yet,” a source within the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) said.

During the last two days, leading PCB protagonists stayed busy in consultation regarding the formation of camp probables for the series and the best possible combination against West Indies.

“There were strong suggestions that since all the leading cricketers would be facing a tough and lengthy season ahead, it would not be good idea to disturb their ongoing county engagements midway. Rather a few top players should be allowed to pursue County Cricket engagements till the time they join the team for the series against Holland and later for the two-match Test series against Sri Lanka.

The consultation process would continue for the next few days before the final decision.”

Another point of discussion was the strength of camp probables for the West Indies series.

“The PCB may invite camp probables in large numbers. The decision will keep the backup strength active as well as to secure the numerous options of having a broader pool for the coming international season. Pakistan have never seen such heavy international commitments in the past so there is a need to keep the backup strength on its toes throughout the season,” the source added.

Meanwhile, the PCB was awaiting the outcome of political manoeuvring to decide on the venue for the three-match ODI series against West Indies.

If the PTI decides to stage a rally in the capital on or around May 30, the venue would likely be changed from Pindi to Karachi otherwise the matches would be staged at the Pindi Stadium.

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