Pakistan have rested as many as six top players for the upcoming ODI series against Australia in the UAE.
The Pakistan board announced that regular captain Sarfraz Ahmed, star batsmen Babar Azam and Fakhar Zaman, pacers Hasan Ali and Shaheen Afridi along with spinner Shadab Khan have been given a rest. Shoaib Malik has been appointed captain in Sarfraz’s absence.
The selectors also decided to reward up and coming fast bowler Mohammad Hasnain with a national call-up after the youngster impressed during the ongoing Pakistan Super League.
Quetta Gladiators’ Hasnain was the first pacer to breach the 150kph mark during the fourth edition of the league and was being tipped to get selected sooner rather than later.
Hussain Talat was dropped while Mohammad Hafeez was not considered as “he is recovering from a thumb surgery”. Also, mercurial batsman Umar Akmal got selected after impressing for Quetta Gladiators in the PSL.
After the selection, chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq said: “I am pleased that we have been able to develop a strong bench-strength that has helped us to make eight changes from the previous series. The changes have been made taking into consideration the player workload in the build up to the World Cup
“While Haris Sohail, Junaid Khan, Umar Akmal and Yasir Shah are returning to ODI cricket, Abid Ali, Mohammad Abbas, Mohammad Hasnain and Saad Ali have been rewarded for stellar performances in domestic cricket,” Inzamam was quoted as saying by the PCB website.
“Mohammad Hasnain has been identified as one of the fast bowlers for the future. The 18-year-old has not only bowled with pace, regularly clocking 145kmph, he has shown tremendous control with the ball which has earned him crucial wickets in the ongoing HBL PSL. Like we nurtured and trained Shaheen Shah Afridi, we – with the support of the team management – have decided to provide the same pathway to the Hyderabad-born lad.
“Umar Akmal, we all know, is immensely talented and still has plenty to offer. Sometimes, time away from international cricket allows a player to recompose and gather himself, and come back strongly. I hope this happens with this player, as a fully fit and in-form Umar will bolster the middle-order.”
The series start in Sharjah on March 22 and ends in Dubai on March 31. The Pakistan team leaves for the UAE on March 18 .
Squad: Shoaib Malik (captain), Abid Ali, Faheem Ashraf, Haris Sohail, Imad Wasim, Imam-ul-Haq, Junaid Khan, Mohammad Abbas, Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Rizwan (wicketkeeper), Saad Ali, Shan Masood, Umar Akmal, Usman Shinwari, Yasir Shah
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