Pakistan in Australia 2016-17 January 9, 2017

Junaid recalled as Irfan flies home after mother's death

ESPNcricinfo staff

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Quick Facts: Junaid Khan

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.

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  • I.F.Butt on January 11, 2017, 21:04 GMT

    Condolence to Irfan, very difficult time for him and his family. Enough is enough! we want Sadaf Hussain for god sake, please let us see why this guy has sucha extremely good domestic record!

  • viswa_93 on January 11, 2017, 10:26 GMT

    Playing lot of matched on dead pitches in UAE made junaid khan loose his rhythm, I just hope he picks up his back and be back to his normal form.

  • Dyummna on January 11, 2017, 6:41 GMT

    I want Irfan and Junaid bowling in tandem, they are fabulous.

  • cricfan75185491 on January 11, 2017, 2:45 GMT

    I love Irfan and Junaid. I feel sad for Irfan that he lost his mom, but I also feel happy for Junaid's return to international cricket

  • jb633 on January 11, 2017, 0:11 GMT

    I never understood what happened to Junaid Khan. He was Pakistan's best seamer for a couple of years and then all of a sudden he was cast into the wilderness. Pakistan really need to get some decent right arm seamers. They actually lack variety now.

  • t20cric on January 10, 2017, 23:57 GMT

    I'd like to see Pakistan try this XI at some point in the series just to see if it works: 1 Sharjeel Khan, 2 Umar Akmal, 3 Babar Azam, 4 Mohammad Rizwan, 5 Shoaib Malik (to be promoted if a collapse happens but Azhar is unable to stop it), 6 Imad Wasim, 7 Azhar Ali (to be promoted in case if there is ever a point where Pakistan have scored less than 30 runs per wicket), 8 Mohammad Amir, 9 Wahab Riaz, 10 Hasan Ali, 11 Junaid Khan. This team would maximize their explosive potential in this order. If everything went well then Pakistan could realistically be looking at scoring 350+ runs. I don't understand Umar Akmal has never been tried as opener considering he is better against pacers but relatively bad against spinners. Umar Akmal also would stand a bigger chance of surviving long if he gets the powerplay overs since less fielders would be there to catch his mandatory early bad shot.

  • t20cric on January 10, 2017, 23:46 GMT

    Nice to see Junaid Khan back in the ODI side. I think this should be the XI for first ODI: 1. Sharjeel Khan, 2. Azhar Ali, 3. Babar Azam, 4. Umar Akmal, 5. Shoaib Malik, 6. Imad Wasim, 7. Mohammad Rizwan (wk), 8. Mohammad Amir, 9. Wahab Riaz, 10. Hasan Ali, 11. Junaid Khan. Based on the squad I really think that's the best possible team. The backups are Shafiq, Nawaz, Rahat & Hafeez. Shafiq is a proven failure & he's only possibly a replacement for Babar & Akmal (if all 3 play in the team then balance of the team gets disturbed). Nawaz can be used if an extra spinner is used but is otherwise only a replacement for Wasim. Rahat is the only reserve fast bowler but has a terrible record (no idea why he always finds himself in the squad) so the other fast bowlers shouldn't have to worry about their place in the side. Lastly, Hafeez is only really their to keep Malik in check as he doesn't deserve to replace anyone else.

  • t20cric on January 10, 2017, 23:33 GMT

    RIP Irfan's mother. I can't even begin to imagine the kind of pain he must be going through right now but hopefully he and his family can get through this tough stronger than before.

  • bohurupi on January 10, 2017, 16:32 GMT

    After the Australia tour, Pakistan bowling needs to be under the microscope. Except Wahab Riaz, and that only to limited extent, none of the bowlers left any impression at all in this tour. Ameer had been tried more than enough and needs to be replaced. Let him play in the domestic arena and unless he shows signs of regaining his firepower, let him stay away. Players like Hasan Ali, Sohail Khan Junaid Khan and even Mohammad Asif and some uncapped promising youngsters should be given far more chances. Overall, Pakistan bowling attack needs to be overhauled.

  •   Beelal on January 10, 2017, 11:43 GMT

    The problem I have with Pak's fast bowling attack is that there are too many left arm fast bowlers in the squad. With the exception of Wahab, all other are similar.

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