Shehzad dropped, Imad out of NZ ODIs with knee injury

Imad Wasim flays one through the off side Getty Images

Pakistan opener Ahmed Shehzad has been dropped for the five-ODI series in New Zealand next month, with Azhar Ali returning to replace him. Left-arm quicks Usman Khan (stress fracture of the back) and Junaid Khan (stress fracture of the foot) are also out of the 15-man squad.

A knee injury has ruled allrounder Imad Wasim out of the tour too. Mohammad Amir, meanwhile, returned to the squad, after recovering from an injury that kept him out of the ODIs against Sri Lanka in October.

The left-arm spin-bowling allrounder Mohammad Nawaz, who last played an ODI in January, came into the squad as a like-for-like replacement for Imad, while the seam-bowling all-rounder Aamer Yamin, who hasn't played an international game since November 2015, is also back in the squad.

The PCB had initially called up 18 probables for a fitness test before finalising the squad. Apart from the ODI squad members that played against Sri Lanka, batsmen Umar Amin and Sohaib Maqsood and Yamin were also called up for the fitness test, though only Yamin made the final cut. Both Azhar and Mohammad Hafeez are currently playing the Quaid-e-Azam trophy, and had underwent fitness tests earlier this month, while legspinner Shadab Khan is playing for Brisbane Heat in the Big Bash League in Australia. All three were picked in the squad.

"The team has been selected keeping in mind the conditions and the recent performances of some players in the domestic tournament," Inzamam-ul-Haq, the chief selector, said. "Azhar Ali makes a comeback to the ODI squad after being rested in the ODI series against Sri Lanka. He is making a comeback, having regained full fitness.

"Junaid Khan has been ruled out of the ODI squad due to a fracture in his right foot and doctors have advised him to rest for six weeks. Aamir Yamin comes in to replace the left-arm pacer in the squad. Imad Wasim is again feeling discomfort in his knee, and has been told to work on his fitness in the NCA."

Yamin, 27, emerged into national contention when he scored 700 runs at 58.33 and took 32 wickets at 24.18 in the 2013-14 season. Yamin then impressed in the national T20 tournament when he struck 45 off 20 balls for Multan Region against Karachi Blues in the semi-final in 2015 and was subsequently picked in Pakistan's ODI side for the Zimbabwe tour. He wasn't as impressive in international cricket, but continued to make steady progress in the domestic circuit.

Maqsood was a potential candidate to break into the squad, having scored 287 runs at an average of 41 for Faisalabad in the National T20 Cup, but was eventually left out because of fitness concerns. However, Inzamam did say that he could be in contention for the T20 series.

The first of five ODIs will be played in Wellington on January 6.