Pakistan Squad for Asia Cup 2023 – A team guide and analysis

Babar Azam will lead Pakistan in the 2023 Asia Cup. For a change, the Pakistan batters are in better shape than their bowlers.

Dillip Mohanty
Dillip Mohanty

Last Updated: 2023-08-18

Pakistan Asia Cup Squad

The Pakistan team has had a brilliant run in the ODI format in recent times. They are ranked second behind Australia in the ICC ODI men’s team rankings. Pakistan Cricket Board has announced a strong squad for the Asia Cup taking place in the lead-up to the 50-over World Cup later in the year. The men-in-green are also the co-hosts alongside Sri Lanka with the tournament set to commence from August 30.Pakistan Squad 2023 Asia Cup.png

The team is led by 28-year-old Babar Azam - one of the best batters of our time. Azam has featured in 100 ODIs for Pakistan scoring over 5000 runs with 18 hundreds to his name. Appointed as skipper in 2020, in the 26 matches Azam has led Pakistan, the team has won 17 times. His batting average as captain is 72.08 with 7 hundreds.

Stable Batting Unit

Babar is the 4th batter in the world to score over 1100 runs since 2022. Fakhar Zaman (823), Imam-ul-Haq (696) and Mohammad Rizwan (544 runs) are the next Pakistanis to appear in the list. These three names support Babar well who bats at 3 for the country. The opening duo of Imam-ul-Haq and Fakhar Zaman with Abdullah Shafique in the wings have given a tremendous start to the team, game after game.

The Pakistan top order (positions 1-7) has the best average per wicket among the top 10 teams since 2022. In 17 matches the top order average is 45.9 with a strike rate of 91.8. The backbone of the top order has always been the openers for Pakistan. The openers are statistically the best in the world since 2022 with an average of 49.1, the highest amongst the top 10 countries.

The middle order (position 4-7) is also chipping with some handy runs along with the top 3. Pakistan has the 2nd best strike rate amongst Asian ODI teams in the last 10 overs (41-50) since 2022. They have managed 960 runs losing 41 wickets at a strike rate of 127.5 and scoring 7.6 runs per over.

Top Order Batting Average in ODI since 2022.png

With teams like India struggling to find a proper number 4 batter right before the big tournament, Pakistan have slotted Mohammad Rizwan in that position. The ever-reliable wicketkeeper-batter has scored 406 runs in 11 innings batting at 4 since 2022 with an average of 45.11. Abdullah Shafique (twice), Agha Salman, Shan Masood and Saud Shakeel (once each) are the other batters who have batted at that position in some circumstances since the aforementioned period. The Pakistan number 4 batters have scored 460 runs in 16 innings averaging 32.9, equaling the other Asian team Afghanistan at that position.

Bowling Woes in PowerPlay

Always known for producing innumerable fast bowling talent, the team’s bowling attack will be led by the left-arm seamer Shaheen Shah Afridi, back to full fitness and form. He is aided by right-arm pacemen Haris Rauf, Naseem Shah and Mohammad Wasim jnr. Forming a formidable pace attack. Faheem Ashraf has also got recalled in the squad, bowling right-arm medium, the Kasur-born allrounder last played an ODI in July 2021.

The spin department is led by the experienced allrounder Shadab Khan who is also Babar’s deputy. Mohammad Nawaz, Usama Mir and Iftikhar Ahmed will be extra options. Salman Agha brings in another all-round option with his more than useful off breaks.

Despite fielding a strong bowling unit, Pakistan hasn’t had the best of times in the first powerplay since 2022. Their bowlers have managed 24 wickets at a strike rate of 42.5 balls at an economy of 5. Shaheen is known for picking up wickets early in his spell in the shortest format and needs to bring that form in the slightly longer format to improve those numbers.


The strike rate worsens in the middle overs, sliding down to 41.6 balls. The reason could be the use of spinners/allrounders who fail to pick wickets at regular intervals. Barring the vice-captain Shadab, there isn’t much confidence among the other slow-bowling options. Mohammad Nawaz has however kept his spot in the team picking 17 wickets in 12 matches (since 2022).

Lethal Death over Bowling Options

ath bowling doesn’t seem the issue for the team. Pakistan is only behind Australia in terms of balls per wicket in the final 10 overs since 2022. With a bowling strike rate of 14.3, the bowlers have picked up 53 wickets in 15 innings at an economy of 7.1. Since the beginning of 2022, Naseem Shah and Haris Rauf have both picked 13 wickets apiece at the death. Shaheen has struck on 10 occasions in 5 innings.

Most Wickets in Death Overs*

In ODIs Since 2022

Alzarri Joseph19206.314.1
Naseem Shah7135.911.2
Haris Rauf12137.713.6
Jason Holder11126.411.4
Kasun Rajitha8127.412.8

*Overs 40 to 50

Sportsboom Event Table Logo

The Verdict

With the Asia Cup set to be played on their home turf and the familiar conditions of Sri Lanka, the Pakistan team has a very fair chance to put a last step towards their World Cup preparations. They last won an ICC event back in 2017 and reached the semi-finals of the 2021 T20 World Cup. With the big event slated to play in India, where the conditions aren’t much different than at home, a fully-fit and full-strength squad has a good chance of lifting the big trophy.

Dillip Mohanty
Dillip MohantySports Editor

Dillip has over two decades of experience in creating sports content. As the Sports Editor of SportsBoom, Dillip brings in a wealth of experience and expertise to the role. Dillip has worked with leading sports broadcasters and sports web content portals in Asia. He is an adept storyteller and has a special liking for data stories. He has a keen interest in data analysis and uncovering insights from large datasets. He loves to tell the story with rich and compelling data visualisation.