Mohammad Irfan makes return to Pakistan ODI squad
The Pakistan selectors have announced a squad consisting of sixteen players, including Mohammad Irfan, for the upcoming five-match One-Day International series against Sri Lanka.
Irfan, who suffered a stress fracture in his pelvis, which he picked up during the World Cup game against South Africa, was declared fit by the Pakistan Cricket Board’s medical panel on Thursday.
Hammad Azam, Junaid Khan and Mohammad Sami were dropped, whereas Haris Sohail and Wahab Riaz miss out due to injuries.
Skipper, Azhar Ali, will be at the helm the batting line-up, which consists the likes of Ahmed Shehzad, Mohammad Hafeez, Asad Shafiq and Shoaib Malik.
Youngster Mukhtar Ahmed earns a call-up following his impressive show in the Twenty20 International series against Zimbabwe, where he scored two consecutive fifties.
Meanwhile, all-rounder, Bilal Asif, has been included as a backup for Mohammad Hafeez, who will undergo a bowling action test in Chennai, on 6th July.
Apart from Irfan, the other fast-bowlers selected for the series are Anwar Ali, Ehsan Adil and Rahat Ali, while Yasir Shah will lead the spin attack alongside Imad Wasim.
Riaz, who fractured his knuckle in the second Test against Sri Lanka, has not been included in the squad, but Pakistan chief selector, Haroon Rashid revealed that the 30-year-old will be included in the final two games, provided he makes a recovery in time.
“It is hoped that he recovers well in time to be available for the last two ODIs, and if he is declared fit by the medical panel, the selection committee might consider sending him over depending on the situation of the series after consulting the team management.”
Rashid, also was of the opinion that it was the right time to give the opportunity to Mukhtar, while justifying the need to select a backup option, in case Hafeez fails to get his action cleared in time.
“Mukhtar Ahmed has shown tremendous improvement during this period and performed well at international level in T20 format.
“Selection committee feels that it is the right time to assess his potential in the one-day format by giving him an opportunity.
“Bilal Asif has also shown that he is a powerful hitter in the lower order and also a handy off-spinner and could fill the gap in case Mohammad Hafeez's action is not cleared after his retesting in Chennai.”
The five-match ODI series between Sri Lanka and Pakistan kicks off on 11th July and will be followed by two T20I matches, which will be played on 31st July and 1st August.
Pakistan squad for the ODI series against Sri Lanka:
Azhar Ali (captain), Ahmed Shehzad, Mohammad Hafeez, Mukhtar Ahmed, Asad Shafiq, Shoaib Malik, Mohammad Rizwan, Babar Azam, Sarfraz Ahmed (wk),Yasir Shah, Bilal Asif, Imad Wasim, Anwar Ali, Mohammad Irfan, Ehsan Adil, Rahat Ali
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