The ICC ODI Cricket World Cup is on schedule to be one of Pakistan’s most competitive tournaments in recent memory. Pakistan will lock horns with nine (9) other qualifying teams for a chance to be world champions for four years.
Pak skipper Babar Azam has already labeled his team as favorites for the ICC ODI Cricket World Cup 2023. He made his prediction at the team’s pre-departure media session before they headed for India:
“Although we have not played in India before, we are not taking too much pressure. We have done our research and we have heard the conditions are similar to how they play out in other Asian countries…It is quite an honour for me to travel as the captain this time around, I hope we come back with a trophy this time,”
Azam’s aspirations to lead his team to ODI cricket glory is shared by nine other captains at this tournament. However, it’s not enough to label Pakistan as the top favorite for this edition’s trophy.
Let’s check out why Pakistan could be a favorite in the ICC ODI Cricket World Cup 2023 and other vital details about the Falcons.
Why Is Pakistan a Favorite to Win the ICC ODI Cricket World Cup 2023?
Pakistan’s full squad ahead of the ODI WC 2023 comes with a mix of experience, youth, and skill. 28-year-old skipper Babar Azam leads other players with World Cup experience like Hasan Ali into this tournament. Their knowledge of games at the last World Cup they featured in could prove vital to Pakistan’s chances this time around.
The team has had to grapple with injuries to some players in recent months; however, Pakistan always seems to have a ready replacement. Top players are available in every department for the team, boosting their chances to become the best ODI WC team this time around.
Great tight game performances
Pakistan can deliver a strong performance against tough opposition with their current squad. Team performances in recent ODIs have been encouraging even if India beat them and Sri Lanak to the Asia Cup title. Pakistan could be in for a massive tournament if everything goes their way from early October.
What Could Hinder Pakistan From Winning the ODI World Cup?
Every team at the ODI World Cup brings their best players forward, meaning Pakistan will need to go above and beyond to secure victory at this tournament. Apart from archrivals India, Pakistan will need to face Australia, New Zealand, England, Sri Lanka, and four (4) other teams in the round-robin stage.
More games in the knockouts could be telling on Pakistan’s performances, and anything can happen at this stage.
Poor bowling combination
Hasan Ali may be an experienced bowler, but his late addition to the team could prove problematic to their bowling at this tournament. Shaheen Afridi and Naseem Shah were Pakistan’s go-to bowlers for some time, but an injury to Shah means someone else had to fill in for the team.
Ali could be rusty after failing to feature in a competitive ODI since January 2023. Fans and commentators are also worried about his low wicket-taking abilities and overall weakness in demanding death overs.
Pakistan has great batters but failure in the bowling department could be their undoing.
Pakistan Full Round-Robin Stage Schedule at ODI World Cup 2023
The Falcons are guaranteed to feature in at least nine (9) games at ODI World Cup 2023. They will play their first two games in Hyderabad before touring Ahmedabad (vs India), Bengaluru (vs Australia and New Zealand), Chennai (vs Afghanistan and South Africa), and Kolkata (vs Bangladesh and England). See the full team schedule for group stage matches below:
|Fri, 06 October, 2023||Pakistan v Netherlands||Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, Hyderabad|
|Tue, 10 October, 2023||Pakistan v Sri Lanka||Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, Hyderabad|
|Sat, 14 October, 2023||India v Pakistan||Narendra Modi Stadium, Ahmedabad|
|Fri, 20 October, 2023||Australia v Pakistan||M. Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bengaluru|
|Mon, 23 October, 2023||Pakistan v Afghanistan||Chidambaram, Chennai|
|Fri, 27 October, 2023||Pakistan v South Africa||Chidambaram, Chennai|
|Tue, 31 October, 2023||Pakistan v Bangladesh||Eden Gardens, Kolkata|
|Sat, 04 November, 2023||New Zealand v Pakistan||M. Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bengaluru|
|Sat, 11 November, 2023||England v Pakistan||Eden Gardens, Kolkata|
Pakistan Full Squad Lineup at ODI World Cup 2023
Babar Azam (c), Abdullah Shafique, Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Salman Ali Agha, Iftikhar Ahmed, Mohammad Rizwan, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Nawaz, Usama Mir, Haris Rauf, Mohammad Wasim Jnr, Shaheen Afridi, Saud Shakeel, Hasan Ali