Pakistan - World Cup 2023 Team Preview

Pakistan achieved ODI World Cup glory back in 1992 under the leadership of Imran Khan but the title has eluded them ever since. Their latest stint in the 2019 edition was a big disappointment as Pakistan failed to make it through to the knockout stages.

However, the men in green have evolved since then and are the top-ranked ODI team in the world according to the latest ICC rankings. Babar Azam is the number-one batter in ODI cricket and will lead his team in this edition. 

With a bowling lineup that is perhaps the most exciting in the world, a number of mercurial all-rounders, and some of the best batters in the format, Pakistan is one of the pre-tournament favorites heading into the 2023 World Cup.

While the team is yet to formally announce its squad for the World Cup, their recent stint in the Asia Cup gives us a glimpse of what we can expect from them.

Current ODI Ranking: 1st (As on 15th September 2023)

Form in ODI Cricket Over the last 2 Years: Played 25, Won: 18, Lost: 6, NR: 1

Squad (Final Squad Yet to be Announced)


Abdullah Shafique

Babar Azam (c)

Fakhar Zaman

Imam ul Haq


Iftikhar Ahmed

Agha Salman

Shadab Khan

Mohammad Nawaz


Mohammad Haris

Mohammad Rizwan


Shaheen Afridi

Haris Rauf

Mohammad Wasim Jr

Usama Mir


One of Pakistan’s biggest strengths will be its pace attack. Shaheen Shah Afridi, who has built quite a reputation for himself at a young age, will be the key bowler for the team. In addition to Afridi, Pakistan has the likes of Haris Rauf, Mohammad Wasim Jr., Shahnawaz Dahani, and Zaman Khan. 

Another important feature of the team is likely to be the top-order batting. Fakhar Zamam and Imam Ul-Haq are one of the most successful opening pairs in recent years, while Babar Azam is pretty consistent at the number 3 slot. Azam is the top-ranked ODI batsman in the World.

There is a bit of a concern over the form of Fakhar Zaman but Abdullah Shafique is an able replacement if needed. Also, the development of Iftikhar Ahmed as an all-rounder in recent times is a big boost while the batting prowess of Mohammad Rizwan is a massive advantage in the middle-order.


There are quite a few chinks in the Pakistan armor. They lack a quality spin attack and that could be a big negative on Indian pitches. Usama Mir is likely to be the lone specialist spinner on the squad but he has played less than 10 ODIs to date. 

Shadab Khan has regressed over the last few months and Mohammad Nawaz also seems to be ineffective on pitches that are a bit flat.

The management will have to fill in by bringing in all-rounders like Iftikhar Ahmed, and Faheem Ashraf, but that ploy didn’t work well during the Asia Cup. 

Another concern will be the middle-order batting. Agha Salman, Mohammad Rizwan, and Abdullah Shafique seem out of form and can struggle against stronger bowling attacks. Pakistan has also been plagued by injuries and quite a few players are racing against time to be fit. 

The last time that Pakistan played in India was back in 2013, and none of the current crop of players have the experience of playing under Indian conditions.

Scheduled matches

6-10-23 Pakistan vs Netherlands Rajiv Gandhi Stadium, Hyderabad

10-10-23 Pakistan vs Sri Lanka Rajiv Gandhi Stadium, Hyderabad

14-10-23 Pakistan vs India Narendra Modi Stadium, Ahmedabad

20-10-23 Pakistan vs Australia M Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bengaluru

23-10-23 Pakistan vs Afghanistan MA Chidambaram Stadium, Chennai

27-10-23 Pakistan vs South Africa MA Chidambaram Stadium, Chennai

31-10-23 Pakistan vs Bangladesh Eden Gardens, Kolkata

4-11-23 Pakistan vs New Zealand M Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bengaluru

11-11-23 Pakistan vs England Eden Gardens, Kolkata

Do the World Cup 2023 Venues Suit Pakistan?

As the world’s top-ranked team, Pakistan would be expected to perform in all kinds of conditions and we think they should enjoy most of the venues where they are slated to play. Hyderabad, Kolkata, and Bengaluru are likely to be quite favorable to their fast-bowlers, and batters like Imam ul Haq, Babar Azam, and Iftikhar Ahmed should also enjoy them. 

The two matches in Chennai could end up being a bit tricky for Pakistan. We saw in the Asia Cup that Pakistan did not enjoy conditions where the spinners played a big role and that could certainly be the case in Chennai.

The match against India in Ahmedabad will be the most-watched match of the World Cup, Those are conditions where the bat will dominate and it will be up to Babar Azam to prove his ranking is not some aberration but that he is actually one of the modern greats of the game.

Injury updates

Naseem Shah suffered a shoulder injury during the Asia Cup fixture against India that could potentially see him miss the entire World Cup. However, the updates regarding the same are awaited. Haris Rauf suffered a niggle during the same match and the team will expect him to recover by the time of the big event.

Top run-scorer in 2023

Babar Azam is the leading run-scorer for Pakistan this year with 745 runs. He has scored them at a strike rate of 85.43.

Top wicket-taker in 2023

Shaheen Shah Afridi and Haris Rauf have both picked up 24 wickets so far this year.

Betting tips

Most runs: Babar Azam

Babar Azam is undoubtedly the best batsman of Pakistan in the last few years. He is ranked the top ODI batsman according to the latest ICC rankings and has an excellent record in white-ball cricket. His ODI average of 58.16 is among the best in the World. Looking at his credentials, we are backing him to be the top scorer for Pakistan in this tournament.

Most wickets: Shaheen Shah Afridi

Shaheen Shah Afridi is one of the best seamers in the world at the moment and can extract pace and movement from even the most inert pitches. He has had a successful year so far, be it at the international level or while playing league cricket. With other seamers like Naseem Shah and Haris Rauf not being 100% fit, Afridi has an excellent chance to top the charts for Pakistan.

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