Pakistan announced their 16-member squad for the upcoming ODI series against South Africa which begins on January 19 in Port Elizabeth.
A PCB press release stated that the side will be led by Sarfraz Ahmed and comprises of Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Shan Masood, Babar Azam, Shoaib Malik, Mohammad Hafeez, Hussain Talat, Imad Wasim, Faheem Ashraf, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Amir, Hasan Ali, Shaheen Afridi and Usman Shinwari along with Mohammad Rizwan as the second wicketkeeper/batsman.
There are three changes from the 15-man ODI side which drew with New Zealand in the UAE after the final ODI was washed out. Asif Ali, Haris Sohail and Junaid Khan have been replaced by Mohammad Amir, Hussain Talat, Mohammad Rizwan, with Shan Masood’s impressive showing in the Test series earning him a call-up as well.
“The selected team is a unanimous choice of the selection panel, including Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed and Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur. While selecting the squad, we have tried to maintain consistency, taking into consideration player performances in white-ball cricket as well as looking ahead to the upcoming ODI challenges, including the World Cup,” said chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq.
Inzamam, commenting on the exclusion of Mohammad Abbas, said that the fast-bowler was in their plan but they have to manage his workload. “He has just made a return following an injury, and we would like to give him sufficient rest before considering him for future assignments,” said the former Test captain.
“Amir’s good performance in the Test series not only made him an automatic selection, but also helped us in the decision to rest Abbas. Junaid Khan has not been considered for this tour because we feel he has to work more on his bowling since the fitness issues that had cut short his series against New Zealand.”
The chief selector went on to say that Asif Ali was dropped due to an inconsistent and below-par performance. He added, “In his place, we have decided to give Hussain Talat an opportunity. He is a good left-handed batsman, who can also bowl.”
Inzamam went on to say that the selectors spoke with the team management before finalising the squad.
“I have had separate discussions with the coach and captain, and while they are disappointed with the performance in the Test series, they remain optimistic and confident that they can turn things around. I have complete faith and belief in the side that is presently in South Africa. It is just that it has been a tough and difficult tour for them. I have been in this situation in the past and I know exactly what they are going through.”
The head coach believes that the tour will make the players better and stronger.”
The squad for the three-match T20I series will be announced in due course.