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Cricket World Cup Team Preview: Pakistan duo set for final hurrah

| 21.01.2015

Number of previous appearances: 10

Last appearance: 2011

Best finish: Champions (1992)

2014 ODI record: Played 16, Won 10, Lost 6

Pool: B

First 3 fixtures: India, West Indies, Zimbabwe

Coach: Waqar Younis

Squad: Ahmed Shehzad, Ehsan Adil, Haris Sohail, Junaid Khan, Misbah-ul-Haq (capt), Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Irfan, Sarfraz Ahmed (wk), Shahid Afridi, Sohaib Maqsood, Sohail Khan, Umar Akmal, Wahab Riaz, Yasir Shah, Younus Khan.

Top runscorer: Ahmed Shehzad. The opening batsman was one of just two men to play in all of Pakistan’s ODIs in 2014 and topped their run-scoring charts for the year as a result. In truth though, Shehzad has been a very consistent performer since nailing down a spot in the side in 2013, scoring four of his six career centuries in that time, as well as all of his nine fifties.

Ahmed-ShehzadTop wicket taker: Mohammad Irfan. Standing at 7ft 1″, Irfan will be the tallest bowler at the World Cup, but is far more than a novelty pick in Pakistan’s squad. The 32-year-old has only failed to take a wicket in an ODI twice in his last 16 appearances and has solid form of nine victims in his last five outings heading into the tournament.

Mohammed-Irfan-21-1-15Magic man: Shahid Afridi. As the owner of some of the fastest landmark knocks in the game with the bat and a devious leg spinner with the ball, Afridi is never far from the spotlight in any ODI. Despite his advancing years his ability to win games of his cricket on his own hasn’t dwindled, as he showed in the below highlights package from the recent 3rd ODI against New Zealand.

Pre-tournament storyline: Selection dramas are nothing new as far as the Pakistan Cricket Board are concerned, so rather than focus on the omission of in-form batsman Fawad Alam, the decisions of both Afridi and skipper Misbah-ul-Haq to retire from ODI cricket after the tournament take centre stage.

Tournament odds: 10/1

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.