Asif Ali to play despite 19-month-old daughter's death

Pakistan middle-order batsman Asif Ali has decided to play the World Cup despite the death of his daughter on Sunday. Asif, who impressed in the recently-concluded five-match ODI series against England, was named in Pakistan’s final 15-member squad for ICC World Cup 2019.

The announcement came hours after Asif’s 19-month-old daughter lost the battle against cancer in USA.

For the moment, Asif might fly to USA to join his family during the tough time but according to PCB, the hard-hitting batsman is certain to return on time before Pakistan’s World Cup opener against West Indies at Trent Bridge on May 31.

“Asif is scheduled to be back in time for our warm-up games where we intend to play our full-strength XI, but if he cannot make it back in time for those, we will wait for him whenever he does return,” said Pakistan’s chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq.

Pakistan is slated to play Afghanistan on May 24 in the first warm-up match.

Reacting on Asif’s selection, Inazamam said it was not easy to drop Abid Ali but Pakistan needed someone like Asif in the middle order. “Dropping Abid Ali [to make way for Asif’s selection] was a very difficult decision. But we needed a power-hitter at number 6 or 7 and Asif has done very well for us in this England series so we need him,” said Inzamam.

Asif scored 142 runs including two half-centuries in four matches against England at an impressive strike rate of 131.48.