Asia Cup 2023: Pakistan Announce Playing XI For Nepal, Make THIS One Big Change Pakistan cricket team. (Source: AP)

Babar Azam’s Pakistan announced their playing XI vs Nepal, a day before the Asia Cup 2023’s opening contest. There is one change that they have done from their last XI vs Afghanistan. They have brought in Iftikhar Ahmed in place of Saud Shakeel in the middle order. This has been done to strengthen their batting lineup. Not to for forget, Pakistan bat as deep as No 10. By including Mohammad Nawaz too in the lineup, Pakistan have managed a way to bat deep and also be bowling-heavy in the opener vs Nepal. 

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Ther is no space for Mohammad Wasim as Pakistan have opted to go for the deadly pace trio Shaheen Shah Afridi, Naseem Shah and Haris Rauf while the spin department is handled by the likes of Shadab Khan, Nawaz and Salman Agha.

Mohammad Rizwan, meanwhile, will be doing the glovework and bat at No 4 right behind captain Babar Azam.

If Pakistan are able to beat Nepal with this playing XI, expect this playing 11 to feature against India, on September 2, at Kandy as well. The Babar Azam-led side is likely to make a short work of the Nepal team. Not to forget, Pakistan and Nepal have never ever played against each other in any format in international cricket.

This is a good opportunity for Nepal to get more competitive and better their cricket. Sandeep Lamichhane will be the player to watch out for in the Nepal playing 11. The leg-spinner has taken 88 wickets since 2021, the most by any bowlers. If Pakistan bat first, it will provide be a good opportunity  for their batters to build up a good score and get some runs under the belt too. 

Nepal will be led by Rohit Paudel. He has made 1,383 runs in ODIs since 2021. Paudel’s numbers are only behind the World No. 1 batter Babar Azam, who will be his opposite number in the tournament opener.

Pakistan will be hoping for a strong start against Nepal to make a big statement before the big clash vs India. Unlike Pakistan, India do not have clarity over their first XI. Head coach Rahul Dravid, on Tuesday, informed the press that KL Rahul won’t be available for the first match vs Nepal. That means Ishan Kishan will be the wicketkeeper/batter vs Pakistan. But it is not clear where he will bat in the star-studded lineup.

Pakistan XI: Babar Azam (c), Fakhar Zaman, Imam ul Haq, Mohammad Rizwan, Iftikhar Ahmed, Salman Agha, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Nawaz, Shaheen Afridi, Naseem Shah, Haris Rauf

Nepal Probable Playing XI: Kushal Bhurtel, Aasif Sheikh (wk), Bhim Sharki, Rohit Paudel (c), Kushal Malla, Dipendra Singh Airee, Gulsan Jha, Sompal Kami,Karan KC, Sandeep Lamichhane, Lalit Rajbanshi

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