- Pakistan may swap Fakhar Zaman for Abdullah Shafique in the XI against Sri Lanka at the World Cup.
- If implemented, Shafique will likely join key players like Babar Azam in Pakistan’s playing XI.
- Sri Lanka anticipates spinner Maheesh Theekshana’s return for a crucial role against Pakistan after missing the last game.
As the ICC Men’s ODI World Cup 2023 gathers momentum, Pakistan is considering a strategic change in their playing XI for the upcoming match against Sri Lanka. The Men in Green, who secured a convincing 81-run victory against the Netherlands in their tournament opener, may opt to replace opener Fakhar Zaman with the emerging talent Abdullah Shafique.
In discussions held during a recent practice session, sources suggest that the team management is contemplating this change due to Fakhar Zaman’s recent lack of form. The 33-year-old opener has struggled, accumulating only 183 runs in ten games. In contrast, Abdullah Shafique, who has played four ODIs, brings promise to the table with a contribution of 80 runs.
If the change materializes, Pakistan’s likely playing XI for the clash with Sri Lanka will feature Abdullah Shafique alongside Imam-ul-Haq, skipper Babar Azam, wicketkeeper Mohammad Rizwan, Saud Shakeel, Iftikhar Ahmed, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Nawaz, Hasan Ali, Haris Rauf, and Shaheen Afridi.
Meanwhile, Sri Lanka is gearing up for the encounter with a potential boost as key spinner Maheesh Theekshana is anticipated to make his return to the starting XI. The spinner missed Sri Lanka’s opening game against South Africa but is expected to play a crucial role against Pakistan. Sri Lanka’s assistant coach, Naveed Nawaz, confirmed Theekshana’s likely inclusion as the team seeks redemption after their defeat to South Africa.
As both teams gear up for this critical clash at Hyderabad’s Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium on Tuesday, the tactical decisions made in team selections could significantly influence the outcome of the match and impact their standing in the World Cup standings.