Asif Ali will play in the World Cup despite the death of his daughter on Sunday. Asif was called up to Pakistan’s 15-man squad for the World Cup on Monday, having missed out on the original squad a month ago.
He was selected on the back of some impressive performances during the England series, where two fifties contributed to a total of 142 runs (in four innings) but, more importantly, at a strike rate of 131.48. Those runs, and the speed at which they came, filled a gaping hole in Pakistan’s middle order, which has long cried out for a power-hitter of Asif’s capabilities.
But the joy of his selection would have been drowned out by the tragic news of his 19-month-old daughter passing away in the United States of America on Sunday, after a fairly long battle against illness.
Asif will exit the squad for now, and arrangements are being made for him to travel to the US if needed. But at the moment, he is scheduled to be back for Pakistan’s World Cup campaign, which begins with a game against West Indies on May 31 at Trent Bridge.
“Dropping Abid Ali [to make way for Asif’s selection] was a very difficult decision,” Inzamam-ul-Haq, Pakistan’s chief selector, said on Monday. “But we needed a power-hitter at number 6 or 7 and Asif has done very well for us in this England series so we need him.
“He is scheduled to be back in time for our warm-up games where we intend to play our full-strength XI, but if he cannot make it back in time for those, we will wait for him whenever he does return.”
Abid was the third opener in the provisional World Cup squad, back up for Imam-ul-Haq and Fakhar Zaman, but Inzamam said that with either of Mohammad Hafeez or Haris Sohail – who are both in the squad – could also be options if another opener was needed.