Pakistan have included pace bowler Mohammad Amir in their final 15-man World Cup squad.
Amir, who missed the last World Cup while serving a ban for spot-fixing, is one of three changes from the provisional squad following the 4-0 one-day international series defeat to England.
Fellow left-arm seamer Wahab Riaz, who has not played an ODI since June 2017, is a surprise inclusion while batsman Asif Ali – who played in all four matches against England – also makes the squad.
The 27-year-old Amir was left out of the initial squad after suffering a major dip in ODI form which has seen him take just three wickets in his last 12 innings.
It seemed he would need to show some form against England to force his way into the squad, but he did not bowl a ball in the series after the only game in which he was selected was washed out at The Oval.
Amir has been included regardless, as has batsman Ali who hit two half-centuries against England.
Wahab’s inclusion will be the one that raises eyebrows. The 33-year-old has been brought back in from the cold after his international career had seemingly been ended.
Chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq explained that conditions had influenced their decision, saying: “Wahab’s ability to reverse swing the ball got him selected.
“Nobody expected the pitches in the UK will play flat even in the early season there. So we have realised that and reviewed our selection.”
Junaid Khan, Faheem Ashraf and Abid Ali are the three men who miss out for Pakistan, who begin their World Cup campaign against the West Indies on May 31.
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.
A statement issued by Islamabad United, the team Asif plays for in the Pakistan Super League, late Sunday said: “ISLU family pays its deepest condolences to @AasifAli2018 on the tragic loss of his daughter. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Asif & his family. Asif is a great example of strength & courage. He is an inspiration to us.”
Earlier on Sunday, the 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 take 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.
ISLU family pays its deepest condolences to @AasifAli2018 on the tragic loss of his daughter. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Asif & his family. Asif is a great example of strength & courage. He is an inspiration to us.— Islamabad United (@IsbUnited) May 19, 2019
Teams have until May 23 to name their final World Cup squads.
Before his departure for the limited-overs series in England, Ali had tweeted on April 24 that he was sending his daughter to the United States for treatment.
He had also requested his fans to pray for his daughter.
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.
Somerset have signed Pakistan batsman Babar Azam for this season’s Vitality Blast.
The 24-year-old, who is currently number one in the International Cricket Council Twenty20 batting rankings, will be available for all 14 South Group games and a possible quarter-final.
Azam struck a century in Pakistan’s win over Leicestershire on Wednesday night and has scored 1,182 runs at an average of 53.72 in 29 T20s for his country.
He said: “I am looking forward to the new challenge that playing T20 cricket in England will bring.
“I have heard good things about Somerset from Azhar Ali and I want to play a part in the club winning matches.
“I know that Somerset get good support and I hope that I can give them something to cheer about this year.”
Andy Hurry, Somerset’s director of cricket, said: “To be able to sign a player of the calibre of Babar Azam is tremendously exciting. He is a proven performer at the very highest level and that is highlighted by the fact that he is the top rated international T20 batsman in the world.”