Pakistan recall Azhar Ali for ODI series against New Zealand

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Pakistan have recalled experienced opener Azhar Ali for their one-day international series in New Zealand next month, but left batsman Ahmed Shehzad and allrounder Imad Wasim out of the squad.

Former captain Ali’s return meant there was no place in the 15-member squad for Shehzad, who failed to impress against Sri Lanka in the United Arab Emirates last month.

Pakistan won all five ODIs against Sri Lanka, but go into the five-match New Zealand series having lost eight of their last 11 ODI series.

“We kept the conditions in New Zealand in mind and the recent performances of some players in the domestic tournament,” chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq said after the squad announcement on Saturday.

Ali was rested for the Sri Lanka series, but is now fully fit after recovering from a knee problem, Haq added.

Fast bowler Junaid Khan has been ruled out of the New Zealand ODIs because of a fracture in his right foot, and Wasim failed a fitness test after reporting discomfort in his knee.

Fast bowler Aamer Yamin replaces Junaid in the squad.

Sarfraz Ahmed continues as captain, having led Pakistan to victory in the Champions Trophy in June.

Pakistan’s first ODI against New Zealand is in Wellington on January 6. The two sides will also play three Twenty20s, for which Pakistan will make a separate squad announcement.

PAKISTAN SQUAD

Sarfraz Ahmed (captain), Azhar Ali, Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Babar Azam, Shoaib Malik, Mohammad Hafeez, Haris Sohail, Faheem Ashraf, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Amir, Hasan Ali, Aamer Yamin, Rumman Raees.

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Former Pakistan opener Nasir Jamshed handed one-year ban by PCB for failure to co-operate in spot-fixing case

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Jamshed has been banned for failure to co-operate with investigators.

Pakistan on Monday handed former opener Nasir Jamshed a one-year ban for failing to cooperate with investigators in a spot-fixing case that rocked the Pakistan Super League earlier this year.

Jamshed was allegedly the middle man between players and an alleged bookie. He has denied all charges.

Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) legal adviser Taffazul Rizvi announced the verdict, saying the investigation into fixing charges was still under way.

“The three-member tribunal banned Jamshed for one year for non-cooperation with the investigation,” Rizvi told media.

“PCB has not levelled any fixing charges on Jamshed as yet as there is another investigation under way against him in (the) UK.”

Britain’s National Crime Agency arrested Jamshed and one unnamed person five days after the spot-fixing allegations surfaced during the second edition of the PSL in February.

Jamshed has played two Tests and 48 ODIs for Pakistan.

Jamshed has played two Tests and 48 ODIs for Pakistan.

Former Pakistan opener Sharjeel Khan was banned for five years – with half of that sentence suspended – while his fellow teammate Khalid Latif was also banned for five years and fined one million rupees ($9,460) in the same case.

Khan was charged for playing two dot balls during the PSL match between Islamabad United and Peshawar Zalmi as part of a spot-deal struck by Latif.

Spot-fixing is the practice of pre-determining the outcome of a specific part of a match in return for money.

Jamshed has played two Tests, 48 one-day internationals and 18 Twenty20 for Pakistan.

He was last included in Pakistan’s World Cup 2015 squad as a replacement but was booed off by the crowd for being overweight and in poor form.

Another former opener Shahzaib Hasan is also under investigation in the case.

Paceman Mohammad Irfan (banned for one year) and spinner Mohammad Nawaz (banned for two months) have completed their sentences on not reporting fixing offers to the PCB.

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Former Pakistan spinner Saeed Ajmal retires from cricket following defeat in National T20 Cup

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Saeej Ajmal had played 35 Tests and 113 ODIs for Pakistan.

Former Pakistan spinner Saeed Ajmal has bowed out from cricket after his side Faisalabad’s defeat in the semi-finals of the National T20 Championship in Rawalpindi on Wednesday.

The 40-year-old off-spinner was accorded a guard of honour from both sets of team after the game which was won by the Lahore Whites.

The veteran spinner had earlier announced that the National T20 Cup was to be last as a player. Ajmal spoke about the desire to concentrate on his coaching assignments following his retirement.

“I will now concentrate on my assignments as a coach and on my cricket academy in Faisalabad,” he told media after the match.

The Pakistan man’s career had been littered with allegations about his bowling allegation being illegal but the spinner remained defiant in the wake of those.

He went on to play 35 Tests for his country, picking a total of 178 wickets at an average of just 28.10. Ajmal was even more lethal in the one-day format where he picked up 184 wickets in 113 games at an average of 22.72.

His last involvement for his country came in April, 2015 against Bangladesh in a T20I. Ajmal’s best performance for Pakistan came in their Test series win over England in 2012 where he picked up 24 wickets in the three matches including a career-best 7-55 in the first Test at Dubai.

The spinner remains proud of his achievements and career with the Pakistan national team.

“I am proud that I have represented Pakistan and contributed in my country’s wins,” he said on Wednesday.

Ajmal was named as the coach of Pakistan Super League (PSL) outfit Islamabad Lions earlier this year and will be now concentrating on that.

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