Junaid recalled as Irfan flies home after mother's death
Mohammad Irfan is set to leave the Pakistan ODI squad in Australia and fly back home following the death of his mother, a PCB spokesman has said. The selectors have named Junaid Khan as his replacement, giving the 27-year-old a chance to play international cricket for the first time since June 2015.
Irfan, 34, has not played for Pakistan since September last year, when he picked up cramps in both legs five overs into an ODI against England in Headingley. He worked on his fitness thereafter, but was not picked for the home series against West Indies in the UAE or the away tour of New Zealand.
Having bowled more than 150 overs in the Quaid-e-Azam trophy, Pakistan's premier first-class tournament, and helping his side Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) to the title, Irfan won the approval of the selectors to play the five ODIs against Australia set to begin in Brisbane on Friday. Chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq said the 14 players were chosen "keeping in mind the conditions in Australia" where his ability to generate extra bounce might have made him an asset.
Instead, left-arm fast bowler and WAPDA team-mate Junaid replaces him and will make a comeback of his own. Junaid had taken 78 wickets at 27.52 in 52 ODIs and had briefly spearheaded Pakistan's attack before he was dropped. He took six wickets in seven games in the recently-concluded Departmental One Day Cup, before taking 4 for 31 for Peshawar in the Regional One Day Cup on Sunday.
He joins Pakistan's four other fast bowlers, Mohammad Amir, Wahab Riaz - both of whom buckled under heavy workloads in the 3-0 Test whitewash - Rahat Ali and Hasan Ali.