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ICC Champions Trophy 2017: Predicted XI for Pakistan

rohit sankar
SENIOR ANALYST
Feature
24.83K   //    30 May 2017, 20:39 IST
SHARJAH, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - SEPTEMBER 30: Sarfraz Ahmed of Pakistab bats  during the first One Day International match between Pakistan and West Indies at Sharjah Cricket Stadium on September 30, 2016 in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates.  (Photo by Francois Nel/Getty Images)
Pakistan's newly appointed ODI skipper, Sarfraz Ahmed, will have e a tough task to rally together a no.8 side

Pakistan go into the Champions Trophy as the eighth-ranked side and have barely had time to regroup after the PSL corruption case and the retirements of Misbah-ul-Haq and Younis Khan from Tests. The ODI side is far more settled despite having a new captain in Sarfraz Ahmed, who took over from Azhar Ali. 

Ali still remains an integral part of Pakistan's top order after he had a good 2016 with the bat in the limited overs format. They had to send back Umar Akmal for failing a fitness test but replaced him with Haris Sohail, who may not get a place in the starting XI given that the top six are fairly settled. 

Akmal's departure might open doors for Mohammad Hafeez, who has had an indifferent season with the bat. The bowling front seems sound with the emergence of the 18-year-old Shadab Khan. Hasan Ali is among the top wicket-takers in 2017 and Junaid Khan and Wahab Riaz have looked good.

Here we take a look at the possible starting XI for Pakistan in the Champions Trophy. 


Openers

LEEDS, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 01:  Azhar Ali of Pakistan hits to the offside off the bowling of Adil Rashid as wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow looks on during the 4th Royal London One -Day International match between England and Pakistan at Headingley on September 1, 2016 in Leeds, England.  (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)
Azhar Ali's ability to see off the new ball should favour Pakistan

Pakistan are likely to open with Azhar Ali and Ahmed Shehzad. The former skipper has had a good few months with the bat and is a really sound option against the swinging ball. In England. 

Shehzad, on the other hand, is every bit as flamboyant as they come. An exquisite cover driver, Shehzad has quite a few shots up his sleeve although poor form has seen him walk in and out of the team. Hafeez might push him for the opening slot if questions remain over his form but Shehzad should hold on to his place for the tournament opener against arch-rivals, India. 

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