Mohammad Hafeez was recalled to the side after missing out in the series against the World XI as Pakistan announced its 16-man squad for the upcoming T20I series against Sri Lanka.
Hafeez had not been named in the squad for the historic visit of the World XI which the hosts had won 2-1.
Also coming back to the side is pace spearhead Mohammad Amir though his return is subject to fitness clearance.
The pacer has only recovered from a stress-related shin injury which has kept him out of the ongoing ODIs against Sri Lanka.
Medium pacer Sohail Khan who featured against the World XI has missed out this time with Umar Amin and Faheem Ashraf retaining their spots.
Pakistan will play three T20I against the islanders starting with the match on October 26 at Abu Dhabi.
The two sides will proceed to the final T20 clash at the Gaddafi stadium in Lahore after Sri Lanka agreed to tour the country following initial hesitation.
Sri Lanka had bore the brunt of a terrorist attack on its team bus during its tour of Pakistan in the same venue in 2009.
Following that incident, international cricket has come to a halt in Pakistan apart from some sporadic games against the likes of Zimbabwe.
During the series against the World XI in September, Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) had agreed a deal in principal to hold the final T20I in Lahore.
However, many members of the Sri Lankan team had developed cold feet about the Lahore visit a few day ear earlier and a letter expressing the same signed by 40 contracted players was sent to the board.
After taking a feedback from the ICC and independent security firms, the Lahore visit has now been given the green light with the match scheduled for October 29.
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has said that they will only agree to play in the ICC’s Test Championship and ODI league if India honour the memorandum of understating (MoU) signed between the two boards in 2014.
The Board of Control of Cricket in India (BCCI) had signed a MoU with its Pakistan counterparts for the holding of bilateral series between the two countries in 2014 but has yet to commit to the same.
The MoU stated that the two countries would hold six series between 2015 an 2023 with the first being held in Pakistan.
PCB chief Najam Sethi was speaking to the media in Lahore upon his arrival from the recently concluded ICC Board meeting in Auckland.
“PCB will only sign on the document for participating in the World Test and ODI leagues if India fulfils its obligations to play bilateral cricket with Pakistan outlined in the MoU signed between the two boards,” the PCB chairman said.
The PCB supremo made it clear that the ICC’s newly introduced Test Championship and ODI League can only work if India and Pakistan agree to play a bilateral series.
Bilateral series between the two countries has been put on a hiatus after the BCCI’s refusal to do so following government directives.
The ICC has recently introduced an ODI League model comprising 13 teams where each team will participate in eight home and away series in a two-year cycle.
Similarly the Test Championship format will see the top nine sides three series each home and away in a two-year cycle with the top two teams fighting it out for the champion’s mantle in a one-off Test.
Sethi remarked that Pakistan would only sign on the dotted lines foe the new models once India honours the MoU to hold bilateral series.
“The documents signed by participating boards have to be handed over to the relevant committee in three or four months time,” he said.
“We will only sign if we get what we want. India fulfilling its obligations as per the MoU in 2014,” he concluded.
There’s no doubt that Hashim Amla is one of the best batsmen in today’s game.
However, when talking about the all-time best in limited-overs, Amla’s is not the first name that comes to mind when talking about the best batsmen.
The South African burst onto the scene as one the classiest Test batsmen with the most elegant of techniques. He piled on the runs instantly in the longer format but it would take the right-handed genius some time before making his mark in limited-overs cricket.
For much of the early stages in his career, the 34-year-old’s orthodox technique failed to transition well in the 50-over game.
The man for the long innings, Amla would make his South Africa debut in Tests during 2004 against India. It was four years later in 2008 that he would get his first ODI cap for the Proteas.
Amla’s lack of firepower and explosiveness at the top was seen as a major handicap when it came to opening the innings in ODIs.
Despite these hurdles, the Durban-born man quickly showed that a world class batsman can adjust his game into any situation. 157 matches for South Africa later, Amla is arguably one of the greatest ODI batsmen to have played the game for his country.
He has 26 tons in the 50-over format, the fifth highest of all-time and only the second among the active players.
He sits just four centuries behind Virat Kohli who is the indisputable king of the one-day game.
However, despite trailing in number of centuries, the rate at which Amla has scored them overshadows the Indian batting maestro.
On Sunday, Amla hit his latest ton in an unbeaten knock to guide South Africa to a 10-wicket victory over Bangladesh at the Diamond Oval in Kimberly.
In the process, he became the fastest in ODI cricket to score 26 hundreds taking only 154 innings to do so. For the record, it took Kohli 166 innings to achieve the same.
A few months back, the South African broke another of Kohli’s records, becoming the fastest batsman to breach the 7000-run mark. The Proteas batsman took 150 innings to get to that mark while the Indian skipper took 169.
Breaking records has become a bit of a habit for the 34-year-old as he remains the fastest to get to 3000, 4000, 5000, 6000 and 7000 runs in one-day cricket.
That he has played only 157 ODIs for the Proteas so far at 34-years of age when the likes of AB De Villiers have played many more remains a travesty and ultimately South Africa’s own loss.
No longer seen as a limited batsman in the shorter format, the South African is quietly and unassumingly etching his name as one of the greatest one-day batsman to have played for the country.