CWC 2019 team profile: Pakistan

Sarfraz Ahmed (Getty)
Sarfraz Ahmed (Getty)

Cape Town - The 2019 Cricket World Cup gets under way on Thursday, May 30 when the Proteas take on England at The Oval in London. 

With the squads all confirmed and the IPL now a thing of the past, attention will move swiftly to the World Cup and South Africa's efforts to finally taste success in a tournament that has haunted them for decades. 

Sport24 will be bringing you all of the news you need to know before and during the showpiece. 

We will be profiling all 10 of the sides competing, highlighting their chances at the competition and players to look out for.

2019 CWC team profile: AFGHANISTAN

2019 CWC team profile: AUSTRALIA

2019 CWC team profile: BANGLADESH

2019 CWC team profile: ENGLAND

2019 CWC team profile: INDIA

2019 CWC team profile: NEW ZEALAND

We'll be providing one team preview every day, moving along in alphabetical order. 

Next up, we have Pakistan.

PAKISTAN

Overview

It has been 27 years since Pakistan's famous triumph at the 1992 tournament under the leadership of Imran Khan. They were also losing finalists in 1999. Pakistan's build-up to 2019 has been largely inconsistent under skipper Sarfraz Ahmed. They have had the advantage of a recently completed five-match series against hosts England, in England, but they lost that 4-0. As a result, Pakistan made three further changes to their World Cup squad on Monday. Sarfraz is an emotional leader, and that can work one of two ways with this squad. You never quite know what to expect from Pakistan, and their stunning victory in 2017's Champions Trophy - also in England - is proof of that. 

Imran Khan and Pakistan celebrate winning the 1992

Imran Khan and Pakistan celebrate winning the 1992 World Cup final in Melbourne (Getty).

Squad: Sarfraz Ahmed (captain), Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Babar Azam, Haris Sohail, Mohammad Hafeez, Shoaib Malik, Asif Ali, Imad Wasim, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Hasnain, Hasan Ali, Wahab Riaz, Shaheen Shah Afridi

Coach: Mickey Arthur

Bookies prediction: 6th

Best WC finish: Champions - 1992

Batsman to watch

Pakistan did show in their ODI series against England that they can post and chase scores well over 300 and that will be encouraging for them. Babar Azam was key in that regard, scoring 277 runs in the series at an average of 55.40. Azam will be expected to bat at No 3, coming in after openers Fakhar Zaman and Imam-ul-Haq, who are also capable of going big. It suggests that pakistan's top order could very well be their strength going into the competition, and the England results back that up. 

Babar Azam (Getty).

Babar Azam (Getty).

Bowler to watch

Pakistan have just one bowler - Hasan Ali - ranked in the top 20 in ODI cricket. With 2019 expected to be a particularly high-scoring tournament, depth here is a concern. Perhaps one of Pakistan's most exciting bowling prospects, however, is ranked all the way down at No 80 in the world. 19-year-old Shaheen Afridi was very expensive against England, but he is tall and quick and can cause batsmen problems on his day. Pakistan have also recalled Mohammad Amir to their squad while spinner Shadab Khan will have a key role to play as well. 

Shaheen Shah Afridi (Getty)

Shaheen Shah Afridi (Getty). 

Realistic expectation

Nobody is expecting anything from Pakistan, but they wouldn't have it any other way. Quietly, Sarfraz and his charges will be backing themselves. They know what it takes to pull together and go the distance at a major tournament, regardless of their form at the time. They will be aiming to secure a semi-final spot and then anything can happen from there. Realistically, however, Pakistan's bowling stocks look like they could be expensive, and that is likely to see them struggle to get out of the pool stages. 

Fixtures

May 31 v West Indies (Nottingham)

June 3 v England (Nottingham)

June 7 v Sri Lanka (Bristol)

June 12 v Australia (Taunton)

June 16 v India (Manchester)

June 23 v South Africa (Lord's)

June 26 v New Zealand (Birmingham)

June 29 v Afghanistan (Leeds)

July 5 v Bangladesh (Lord's)

Twitter: @TheRealPCB

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