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Ali and Jamshed set to strengthen Pakistan team

February 9, 2015

ISLAMABAD (AP) — Opening batsman Nasir Jamshed and fast bowler Rahat Ali were called up to join Pakistan’s injury hit World Cup squad Monday, but may miss Wednesday’s warmup match against England in Sydney.

Left-handed batsman Jamshed has replaced Mohammad Hafeez while Ali, in a surprise selection, comes in for Junaid Khan, despite having played only one ODI, against Sri Lanka three years ago.

Jamshed and Ali might not arrive in Sydney in time for the final warmup match, but said they will feel no pressure if selected for Pakistan’s opening group match against archrival India next Sunday.

“As a professional cricketer you have to perform whether the match is against India, Australia or South Africa,” Jamshed told reporters.

Pakistan’s other group opponents are two-time champion West Indies, South Africa, Zimbabwe, United Arab Emirates and Ireland with top four teams qualifying for the quarterfinals.

Jamshed has scored two of his three ODI centuries against India, in back to back one-day internationals at Chennai and Kolkata, more than two years ago and hopes to repeat the same performance at Adelaide next Sunday, if selected.

“I still remember those two innings and hope to repeat the same if I’m selected for the match,” he said.

“There’s no such pressure on me, if you get good start you set the tone of the innings and it gets easier for other batsmen of your team.”

Jamshed impressed the selectors with his fine form in the recent domestic ODI tournament in which he scored 282 runs in four matches. He has played 45 ODIs, scoring 1,413 runs at an average of 33.64, with three hundreds and eight half centuries.

Ali, a left-arm fast bowler, has been an integral part of Pakistan’s test squad since making his debut against South Africa last year, but was not among Pakistan’s original 30 ‘probables’ for the World Cup. Injuries to other players have given him his way back.

“Test cricket is not an easy game and I’ve performed well in it,” a confident Ali, who has taken 31 wickets in 11 test matches, said.

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