Pakistan chief selector and head coach Misbah-ul-Haq has named a 16-man squad led by skipper Sarfraz Ahmed for the upcoming ODI series against Sri Lanka.
Abid Ali, Iftikhar Ahmed, Usman Shinwari, Mohammad Nawaz and Mohammad Rizwan were handed recalls to the side even as pacers Hasan Ali and Shaheen Afridi missed out due to injury troubles.
Hasan Ali is reportedly suffering from a back spasm and the right-armed pacer will undergo rehabilitation at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Lahore.
“After thorough discussions with the members of the selection committee and meticulous planning, I feel we have put together the best possible squad,” Misbah said in a statement.
“These are the only 50-over matches we play this season and we want to make their optimum use. Over the course of my cricketing career, I have realised there are no easy games and there are no easy opponents in cricket.
“But, a season-opening series is crucial for setting the tone. It is extremely important that we produce solid performances and have favourable results as it will build the confidence of our players and help in carrying the momentum Down Under.”
It will be the first assignment for Misbah since taking over as the coach and selector of the Pakistan in the aftermath of the 2019 World Cup in England. The former Pakistan skipper has justified the ODI recalls handed out to five players including Iftikhar Ahmed.
“The five boys, who have been recalled, were straightforward selections. Iftikhar Ahmed is a batsman who can also bowl off-spin and provides the captain with necessary bowling depth as Sri Lanka boasts a few left-handers in their ranks,” he said.
“Mohammad Nawaz has been performing well in domestic matches. Despite their strong performances, Moahmmad Rizwan, Usman Shinwari and Abid Ali were unlucky to miss out the World Cup squad.
“This is, however, a perfect opportunity for these players to prove their mettle in international cricket and cement their place in the one-day side.”
Pakistan are slated to play three ODIs and as many T20Is against Sri Lanka with the squad for the latter set to be announced in due time. The ODI-leg will be held in Karachi with the first of the three clashes set to take place on September 27.
PAKISTAN 16-MAN ODI SQUAD
Sarfaraz Ahmed (captain), Babar Azam (vice-captain), Abid Ali, Asif Ali, Fakhar Zaman, Haris Sohail, Iftikhar Ahmed, Imad Wasim, Imam-ul-Haq, Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan, Shadab Khan, Usman Shinwari, Wahab Riaz.
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