US envoy hosts pre-World Cup meet-and-greet event for Pakistan team

Islamabad: US Ambassador Donald Blome hosted a meet-and-greet event for the Pakistani cricket team ahead of the much-anticipated event, ICC Men’s Twenty20 World Cup, 2024, which is set to take place in the United States and the West Indies in June.

The US Embassy in Islamabad shared photos of the event on its X — formerly Twitter — handle, showing Pakistan national squad members interacting with the envoy.

During the event, left-arm fast Shaheen Shah Afridi and all-rounder Shadab Khan gave Ambassador Blome some cricket tips using a special cricket ball, the post read.

Pakistani players Shaheen Afridi and Shadab Khan standing with US ambassador Donald Blome at US Embassy in this undated photo. — X/@usembislamabad
The players also presented the envoy with a signed cricket bat and team jersey. Blome gifted the team with a commemorative embassy cricket ball and an autographed softball bat.

Shaheen, Shadab, Imad Wasim and a few other Pakistan players were also seen bowling and batting to the delight of Embassy employees. Pictures, selfies and autographs were also shared during the team’s stay at the embassy.

Pakistan are yet to announce a squad for the upcoming tour of Ireland and England which is likely to be finalised by the selectors within a few days, The News reported.

It emerged that the selectors were waiting for the update on four injured players, Haris Rauf, Azam Khan, Mohammad Rizwan and Irfan Khan Niazi, before finalising the team for the T20I matches in England and Ireland.

Once the selectors get an update on the players’ fitness, the team for the three-match series against Ireland will be announced.

Subsequently, the cricket board will also finalise a 15-member squad for the World Cup for which the International Cricket Council (ICC) set a deadline of May 25.

The upcoming T20I matches against Ireland and England would be a litmus test for players to elevate themselves to the World Cup squad.

A brief training camp is expected to start from May 3 in Lahore ahead of the team’s departure for Ireland, the report stated.