LAHORE: Newly-appointed chief selector Inzamamul Haq Wednesday announced the 18-member squad for three match ODI series against Afghanistan to be played in Sri Lanka this month.
Inzamam announced the squad in a delayed press conference on Wednesday afternoon after the earlier scheduled press conference to be held at noon was postponed for four hours.
These matches, scheduled for August 22, 24 and 26, will be played in Sri Lanka ahead of the two biggest tournaments of the year i.e. Asia Cup in September and World Cup in October.
Inzamam took the input from Director Cricket of Pakistan team Mickey Arthur and Head Coach Grant Bradburn who are also member of the selection committee. He also consulted captain Babar Azam before finalizing the squad.
Tayyab Tahir, Faheem Ashraf and Saud Shakeel have been included in the squad for the Afghanistan series. Shan Masood and Ihsanullah are the two players from the squad that played New Zealand in the five ODIs in April and May to miss out.
Faheem returns to the side after two years and further adds to the balance of the side as a fast bowling all-rounder. His last outing in the format was during Pakistan’s three-match away series against England in July 2021.
This is Tayyab’s second call-up in the ODI side. His maiden call-up came ahead of the three ODIs against New Zealand in January following a stellar show in the Pakistan Cup 2022-23 that saw him finish as the leading run-getter in the event. The right-handed middle-order batter recently struck a scintillating century to orchestrate Pakistan Shaheens’ thumping 128-run win over India A in the ACC Men’s Emerging Cup final.
Saud, who does not feature in the Asia Cup squad, has played five ODIs and his last was in March 2022 when Pakistan chased down 348 against Australia with six wickets in hand in Lahore.
Shan has missed out on selection following a string of low-scores, while Ihsanullah is undergoing a rehabilitation programme under the observation of the PCB’s medical panel following an injury in his bowling elbow.
Afghanistan and Pakistan have only met each other four times in ODIs, and never in an actual bilateral series.
Pakistan will begin training in Sri Lanka on August 17 and the ODI series will start on August 22. The second match will be played on August 24, with the final match being played on August 26. The first two matches of the series will be played in Hambantota, with the third ODI being played in Colombo.
Openers: Abdullah Shafique, Fakhar Zaman and Imam-ul-Haq
Middle order: Babar Azam (captain), Salman Ali Agha, Iftikhar Ahmed, Tayyab Tahir and Saud Shakeel (only for Afghanistan series).
Wicketkeepers: Mohammad Rizwan and Mohammad Haris
Spinners: Shadab Khan (vice-captain), Mohammad Nawaz and Usama Mir
Pace all-rounder: Faheem Ashraf
Pacers: Haris Rauf, Mohammad Wasim Jnr, Naseem Shah and Shaheen Afridi