Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 23 August 2019

Cricket World Cup: Pakistan leave Mohammed Amir out of preliminary squad over performance issues

Paceman in wretched form since guiding Pakistan to Champions Trophy victory in June 2017

Pakistan's Mohammad Amir (L) bowls during a practice session at Lord's Cricket Ground in London on May 23, 2018, on the eve of the first Test match between England and Pakistan. / AFP / Adrian DENNIS
Pakistan's Mohammad Amir (L) bowls during a practice session at Lord's Cricket Ground in London on May 23, 2018, on the eve of the first Test match between England and Pakistan. / AFP / Adrian DENNIS

Pakistan selectors on Thursday left out pace spearhead Mohammed Amir from the preliminary 15-man squad for next month's Cricket World Cup to be held in England.

The 27-year-old has been in wretched form since guiding Pakistan to win over India in the Champions trophy final in June 2017, with just four wickets in 14 matches.

But the left-arm fast bowler, who missed the 2011 and 2015 World Cup due to a five-year ban on match-fixing imposed in 2010, has a lifeline as teams can be changed until May 23 - seven days before the 10-team event starts.

Chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq said Amir's form was concerning.

"Amir had not performed as well as was expected of him," said Inzamam, who was part of Pakistan's World Cup winning team in 1992.

Amir is included in the 17-man squad for the five-match one-day international series against England from May 5-19, and can regain his World Cup place if he performs well.

"We have included Amir for the England series with a hope that he regains his rhythm and wicket-taking ability in the series," Inzamam said.

All-rounder Mohammed Hafeez was included in the World Cup squad subject to fully recovering from a fractured thumb injury he sustained during the Pakistan Super League (PSL) in February this year.

There was a surprise World Cup call-up for 19-year-old rookie fast bowler Mohammed Hasnain, who bowled at 150kph in the PSL earlier this year.

"Hasnain is exciting and can be a surprise package of the World Cup," Inzamam said of the paceman, who played three one-day internationals against Australia last month, taking two wickets.

Sarfraz Ahmed will lead both the squads.

Another left-arm pacer, 29-year-old Junaid Khan, was preferred over Amir.

Opener Abid Ali, 31, also earned a call-up after scoring a debut hundred against Australia.

The squad is largely comprised of young players, with only a handful of veterans - Sarfraz and Haris Sohail, who played in 2015, as well as Shoaib Malik, who played in 2007, and Mohammad Hafeez, who took part in the 2007 and 2011 tournaments.

Pakistan will leave for the UK on Tuesday and play three 50-over matches against county teams before taking on England in the five-match ODI series from May 5.

They will play two warm-up World Cup games against Afghanistan on May 24 and Bangladesh on May 26, before taking on the West Indies in their first World Cup match in Nottingham on May 31.

All 10 teams will play each other in the first stage, with the top four playing the semi-finals.

Updated: April 18, 2019 06:26 PM

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