Umar Gul picks five potential pacers for Pakistan’s World Cup squad

Umar Gul, who served as Pakistan’s interim bowling coach for recent Afghanistan and New Zeaand series, has revealed his five potential pacers for the upcoming ICC World Cup 2023 scheduled in India.

In an exclusive interview with Cricket Pakistan, Gul emphasized the importance of retaining the pace attack that was successful during the New Zealand ODI series.

He also acknowledged the significance of a strong spin attack, especially since the mega-event will be played on the Indian soil.

“If you talk about our bowling, the pace attack that we had during the New Zealand series should be retained and these are our best bowlers for the World Cup. They are Shaheen Afridi, Naseem Shah, Haris Rauf, Ihsanullah and Mohammad Wasim Jr,” Gul said.

“If you talk about spin attack, knowing that the mega-event is being played in India, then you require help from your spinners, you have top all-rounders, like Mohammad Nawaz, Shadab Khan, and I think we have an excellent and balanced bowling side.

“We have a lot of expectations from the bowlers and if we go there and participate in the World Cup, then the results can be positive and we have a lot of chances on winning the tournament,” he added.

While discussing the inclusion of lanky pacer, Ihsanullah, the former cricketer stated that it might be too early for the young bowler, as he has primarily played domestic and T20 cricket, but the ODI format presents a different challenge.

“It’s still early for him. He [Ihsanullah] has emerged from the domestic side and transitioned into T20 cricket, where he showcased his skills. Although he has prior experience in domestic cricket, including one-day and four-day games, playing a different format like ODI requires a different approach. While he has demonstrated his prowess in T20s with his rapid pace and aggressive bowling, we need to observe his performance in the upcoming ODI series and the World Cup to gauge how well he can adapt and prepare for the challenges ahead,” he said.

Gul further mentioned that the first-choice pace attack for the mega-event would consist of the deadly trio of Shaheen, Naseem and Rauf. However, he emphasized the importance of having capable options on the bench, which includes Ihsanullah and Wasim Jr.

“The first choice will be the trio pace attack of Shaheen Afridi, Naseem Shah and Haris Rauf for the mega-event, but if you look at the bench then you need to have the availability of Ihsanullah and Waseem Jr. In my opinion, Ihsanullah and Wasim should be given chances in the Asia Cup,” he said.

“Before the World Cup we have to try Ihsanullah in the few matchs we get, in order to know if he is ready to play the fifty-over format, because there will be competitive cricket in the international level and I know he has the potential to serve Pakistan in the future,” he concluded.

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