has returned to the Pakistan ODI squad, and taken back the vice-captaincy, after recovering from injury, while there was a call-up for top-order batter Abdullah Shafique
and left-arm spinner Mohammad Nawaz
called up for the three-match series at home against West Indies, to be played in June.
Asif Afridi, Asif Ali, Haider Ali, Saud Shakeel and Usman Qadir, who were all part of the 21-man squad for Pakistan's previous engagement, against Australia at home in March-April this year, have been excluded from the trimmer 16-man line-up.
Most members of the squad and coaching staff will assemble in Rawalpindi on June 1 for a training camp, with Haris Rauf
, Hasan Ali
, Mohammad Rizwan
and Shadab, who are presently playing in England, joining them sometime in the first week of June.
The games are slotted for Rawalpindi, but the PCB has kept Multan as a back-up as Islamabad - the country's capital, adjacent to Rawalpindi - is likely to be the centre for deposed prime minister Imran Khan's political rally starting May 25. The series is set to start on June 8, and features three ODIs, which are part of the World Cup Super League.
"As the ODIs against the West Indies are part of the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2023 qualification, we have decided to give best chance to our side to collect maximum points and strengthen our chances of progressing directly for the pinnacle 50-over tournament," chief selector Mohammad Wasim
said in a statement. "We have retained the same core of players [as in the series against Australia] so they further establish themselves in the format. I hope this bunch will continue the form they gained from the Australia series." Pakistan won that three-ODI series 2-1 before losing the one-off T20I.
"Usman along with Asif Ali and Haider Ali remain in our plans for the shortest format as we have a series of T20Is lined up this year, including the ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2022"
Chief selector Mohammad Wasim
The West Indies series will be played without a bio-secure bubble in place, so the PCB has done away with the policy of naming an extended squad. Though there was no bubble in place for the Australia series either, several injury concerns in the squad had forced Pakistan to carry 21 players.
"Taking into consideration that there will be no Managed Event Environment and the players can be called at a short notice, we have reduced the squad size to 16 players," Wasim said. "For the Australia ODIs, we had also announced backup players as cover to those players who were carrying injuries.
"Players such as Mohammad Nawaz and Shadab Khan are now fully fit, which has allowed us to leave out Asif Afridi and Usman Qadir. However, Usman along with Asif Ali and Haider Ali remain in our plans for the shortest format as we have a series of T20Is lined up this year, including the ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2022."
The top order revolves around Fakhar, Imam and Babar, while the bowling will be led by Shaheen Shah Afridi, Rauf and Hasan, with Wasim Jr and Dahani around them. Joining them are Shadab and Nawaz, who was originally in the squad for the Australia series but had to miss out because of an injury.
Squad: Babar Azam (capt), Shadab Khan (vice-capt), Abdullah Shafique, Fakhar Zaman, Haris Rauf, Hasan Ali, Iftikhar Ahmed, Imam-ul-Haq, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Haris (wk), Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Mohammad Wasim Jr, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Shahnawaz Dahani, Zahid Mahmood.