Mohammad Irfan returns to ODI squad
Pakistan fast bowler Mohammad Irfan has been recalled to the ODI team for the five-match series in Sri Lanka after recovering from a stress fracture of the pelvis sustained during the 2015 World Cup. Two uncapped players - offspinning allrounder Bilal Asif and batsman Mukhtar Ahmed - and fast bowlers Ehsan Adil and Rahat Ali are the other inclusions in the 16-man squad.
The players dropped from the squad that played the home series against Zimbabwe were batsman Hammad Azam and fast bowlers Mohammad Sami and Junaid Khan. Batsman Haris Sohail and fast bowler Wahab Riaz were unavailable because of injuries sustained during the Test-leg of the tour of Sri Lanka. Sohaib Maqsood, the middle-order batsman, was also injured.
Pakistan's chief selector Haroon Rashid said Wahab, who had a fracture on his knuckle, had not been ruled out of the entire series. "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."
Mukhtar, 22, made his Twenty20 international debut in Bangladesh and has 183 runs in three innings, including two consecutive half-centuries against Zimbabwe. "Mukhtar Ahmed has shown tremendous improvement during this period and performed well at international level in T20 format," Rashid said. "Selection committee feels that it is the right time to assess his potential in the one-day format by giving him an opportunity."
Asif, 29, has played only 11 first-class matches and 21 List A games for Sialkot. He has 33 List A wickets at an average of 23. Rashid said Asif had been selected as a back-up for Mohammad Hafeez, who is due to have his bowling action tested in Chennai on July 6. "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."
Sami was dropped after having been recalled for the limited-overs series against Zimbabwe, in which he was wicketless and expensive in the two ODIs he played. Junaid was left out after a lacklustre performance in recent months. He took only one wicket in two Tests in Sri Lanka and was dropped for the third, and before that he had gone wicketless in the only ODI he played against Zimbabwe, and taken three wickets in three ODIs with an economy of 6.83 in Bangladesh.
Squad Ahmed Shehzad, Azhar Ali (capt), Mohammad Hafeez, Mukhtar Ahmed, Asad Shafiq, Shoaib Malik, Mohammad Rizwan, Babar Azam, Sarfraz Ahmed (vc) Yasir Shah, Bilal Asif, Imad Wasim, Anwar Ali, Mohammad Irfan, Ehsan Adil, Rahat Ali