Pakistan men’s team head coach and chief selector, Misbah-ul-Haq, has named a 16-member squad for three ODIs against Sri Lanka, from 27 September to 2 October, in Karachi.
The Sri Lankans are scheduled to play three ODIs and as many T20Is in Pakistan with the series starting on September 27.
Abid Ali, Iftikhar Ahmed, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan and Usman Shinwari have earned recalls. Hasan Ali misses out his place, Usman Shinwari has relaced him.
The 29-year-old Iftikhar played just two ODIs against England in 2015 before he had been sidelined mainly because of the presence of two more all-rounders Mohammad Hafeez and Shoaib Malik in the team.
Malik retired from one-day internationals after the World Cup in July while Hafeez has received permission to skip the series against Sri Lanka from the Pakistan Cricket Board to play in the Caribbean Premier League.
Nawaz, who also bowls left-arm spin, has impressed selectors with his form in the domestic one-day tournament Pakistan Cup and has been recalled after an year.
Opening batsman Fakhar Zaman has retained his place in the squad despite the left-hander’s poor show with the bat during the World Cup.
“No doubt his (Fakhar) performance has gone down, but still his average is around 47 in ODIs,” Misbah said.
“He’s an impact player. He is such a player that if he plays 10 overs, you have a chance to win the match. Instead of wasting him, we should see how we can utilise him in the future.”
Wicketkeeper-batsman Mohammad Rizwan, who scored two centuries in the United Arab Emirates against Australia, also made a comeback after being ignored for the World Cup.
Misbah said captain Sarfaraz Ahmed and Rizwan have different roles and Rizwan could be in the playing eleven as a fielder.
“If someone has scored two hundreds at No. 4 you have to give him a chance,” Misbah said.
“You have added advantage of having two wicketkeepers, fitness wise he is very good … we are trying to encourage such players and we will try to give them matches whenever we have a chance.”
Sri Lanka has already announced two squads for the three one-day internationals and the three T20 matches. Ten senior players opted out of the tour citing security concerns.
Pakistan’s squad for the three T20Is against Sri Lanka in Lahore will be announced during the one-day series. Until then, the other players in the probables camp will continue to train at the NCA.
“After thorough discussions with the members of the selection committee and meticulous planning, I feel we have put together the best possible squad,” said the chief selector.
“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.”
The ODI series will conclude on October 2 and will be followed by three Twenty20s at Lahore in between October 5-9.
Pakistan’s ODI Squad:
1. Sarfaraz Ahmed (captain), 2. Babar Azam, 3. Shadab Khan, 4. Abdi Ali, 5. Asif Ali, 6. Fakhar Zaman, 7. Usman Shinwari, 8. Haris Sohail, 9. Muhammad Hasnain, 10. Iftikhar Ahmed, 11. Imad Wasim, 12. Imam-ul-Haq, 13. Mohammad Amir, 14. Mohammad Nawaz, 15. Wahab Riaz, 16. Mohammad Rizwan
ODI Series Schedule:
1st ODI: 27 September, National Stadium Karachi
2nd OD: 29 September, National Stadium Karachi
3rd ODI: 2 October, National Stadium Karachi