Pakistan batsman Asif Ali is expected to leave the tour of England following the death of his daughter, who had been having treatment for cancer in the United States.
Islamabad United, the team Asif plays for in the Pakistan Super League, confirmed the death of 18-month-old Noor Fatima in a statement issued late Sunday.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to Asif & his family,” the statement said. “Asif is a great example of strength & courage. He is an inspiration to us.”
Before his departure for the limited-overs series in England, Ali had tweeted on April 24 that he was sending his daughter to the US for treatment.
He had also asked fans to pray for his daughter.
Condolences poured in from Pakistan, including from foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and left-arm fast bowler Mohammad Amir.
“I know too well the pain & anguish of losing a loved one to cancer. My heart goes out to @AasifAli2018 & his family who lost their beautiful child to this most merciless disease,” Qureshi tweeted.
“Extremely heart broken with the news of @AasifAli2018 daughter passing away,” wrote Amir.
Even cricket fans in Pakistan’s arch-rival India expressed their condolences.
“We are very sorry to hear about @AasifAli2018... May God bless her soul,” wrote one Indian Twitter user.
Ali had learnt about his daughter’s illness during the fourth season of the PSL, with Islamabad United coach Dean Jones, the former Australia batsman, breaking down in tears when talking about the child’s condition.
Earlier on Sunday, 27-year-old Ali made 22 during Pakistan’s 54-run defeat by England in the fifth and final one-day international at Headingley -- a loss that saw England sweep the series 4-0 after the opening match was washed out.
Ali featured in every game of the series, scoring two fifties with a career best of 52 in the third ODI in Bristol.
The hard-hitting Ali has scored 342 runs in 16 ODIs at an average of 31.09.
He was not included in Pakistan’s preliminary squad for the World Cup in England, which starts later this month, but that would not prevent him being selected in the 15-man squad for the tournament, who will be named later Monday.
Teams have until May 23 to name their final World Cup squads.