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Faheem in, Masood out as Pakistan name squads for Asia Cup and Afghanistan ODIs

Masood, Haris Sohail and Ihsanullah removed from the squad, the first picked by new chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq

Danyal Rasool
Danyal Rasool
09-Aug-2023
Faheem Ashraf nipped out Colin Munro early, New Zealand v Pakistan, 3rd ODI, Dunedin, January 13, 2018

Faheem Ashraf hasn't played an ODI in over two years  •  Getty Images

Shan Masood, who was appointed ODI vice-captain in January this year, has been left out of the Pakistan squads for the upcoming ODIs against Afghanistan in Sri Lanka as well as the Asia Cup, while Faheem Ashraf has been recalled after a gap of more than two years.
Those were the key changes in a largely unchanged squad, the first picked by new chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq, with Masood, Haris Sohail and Ihsanullah the only absentees from the group that took on New Zealand in May.
Saud Shakeel, who impressed in the recent Test series in Sri Lanka but has had limited exposure in ODIs over the years, has been included in the 18-man squad for the ODIs against Afghanistan, but is not part of a 17-man Asia Cup squad.
"Preference has been given to Faheem Ashraf, since the squad doesn't have another fast-bowling allrounder," Inzamam said at a press conference after announcing the squad. "If you look at PSL and other tournaments, he was in good form. And we need an allrounder, he is a fast-bowling allrounder, which we need at the World Cup."
On Masood, Inzamam said, "Shan has performed very well on the whole across formats. Unfortunately, his performances in ODIs have gone down. We have a list of 20-21 players, and Shan is part of that. But Saud Shakeel and a couple of other players were impressive recently, so we had to leave out Shan. But he is a part of our plans."
Masood has played just nine ODIs in his career, four of them this year, in which he has totalled 52 runs with a best of 44.
Faheem returned to the ODI side after two years in the wilderness - he has played Tests and T20Is more recently, but last played an ODI back in July 2021, in England.
Tayyab, meanwhile, has earned his second call-up to the ODI side. The first came ahead of the three ODIs against New Zealand in January following an impressive Pakistan Cup campaign, where he was the leading run-getter. Most recently, he hit a match-winning 71-ball 108 in Pakistan A's win over India A in the ACC Men's Emerging Cup final in Colombo.
While Ihsanullah has struggled to shake off an elbow injury - he is "undergoing a rehabilitation programme under the observation of the PCB's medical panel," the board said in a statement - the other notable bowling absentee is Mohammad Hasnain, who wasn't part of the ODI series against New Zealand and has played just one ODI since May 2021. ESPNcricinfo understands there are concerns about his fitness in the 50-over format at this stage.
The PCB confirmed that the squad will assemble in Hambantota on August 18. Prior to that, there will be a three-day camp from August 14 to 16 at the National Cricket Academy, Lahore.
Inzamam said that selection for the World Cup, in India starting October 5, would not necessarily come from the squad announced here, and that he would be keeping an open mind.
"I've only joined recently, so I'll keep an eye out on the entire first-class structure," he said. "I only took charge on Monday, so a lot of things were already in motion. We'll create a setup as things go and fine-tune our processes further. The players we've selected have performed in first-class cricket and elsewhere, and that's why they were rewarded.
"Sometime you create a 20- or 22-man squad, but sometimes you may need someone from outside that pool if someone's in great form or if the team needs changes. We are not restricting ourselves to these 17 or 18 players; anyone who performs can come into the side."
Inzamam was brought back as chief selector by PCB chairman Zaka Ashraf on Monday, just days after he had been appointed to a cricket technical committee headed by Misbah-ul-Haq, also including Mohammad Hafeez. After his appointment as chief selector, it was announced Inzamam will no longer be a part of that committee, and will be replaced in due course.
The committee met just once. It is understood domestic cricket reform was at the top of the agenda. The PCB is expected to announce sweeping changes to the upcoming Quaid-e-Azam Trophy and the second-tier domestic tournament later this week. The idea is to mainly do away with reforms made under former PCB chairman Ehsan Mani when Imran Khan was the patron of the board.
The Afghanistan series and the Asia Cup will be followed by the ODI World Cup, for which a 15-man squad has to be announced by September 5, with changes permitted up until the last week of September.
Pakistan ODI squad: Babar Azam (capt), Shadab Khan, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Fakhar Zaman, Abdullah Shafique, Imam-ul-Haq, Saud Shakeel, Salman Ali Agha, Iftikhar Ahmed, Mohammad Nawaz, Usama Mir, Haris Rauf, Naseem Shah, Shaheen Afridi, Tayyab Tahir, Mohammad Haris (wk), Faheem Ashraf, Mohammad Wasim

Danyal Rasool is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo. @Danny61000