LAHORE: After returning for the two-match Twenty20 International series, the duo of Shoaib Malik and Mohammad — once dumped as spent force — also made the cut for Pakistan’s ODI squad.
Both Malik and Sami were included in the 16-man squad for the three-match One-day International series that gets underway at the Qaddafi Stadium in Lahore from Tuesday (today).
The duo have been picked in the ODI squad for the first time in nearly two years. However, Saeed Ajmal was not included in the list.
Malik hadn’t played 50-over cricket since June 2013, but has averaged 50.36 in List A cricket over 12 matches in the last two years, including a hundred and five fifties — made in successive innings. However he failed in the preceding Twenty20 series, which Pakistan won 2-0 on Sunday, with scores of seven each.
Sami was last with the ODI team in June 2012. His last 12 months in domestic one-day cricket have fetched 19 wickets at an average of 23.63 and economy-rate of 5.10.
After a 0-3 defeat to Bangladesh, the Pakistan Cricket Board had hinted at making considerable changes. Ahmed Shehzad and has reclaimed his place as well. Imad Wasim, who made his Pakistan debut in the second T20 against Zimbabwe, is also part of the squad.
Umar Gul, Rahat Ali and Zulfiqar Babar have lost their place, though. So the fast-bowling workload will be borne by Wahab Riaz, Anwar Ali, Junaid Khan and Sami. Yasir Shah is the lone specialist spinner in the squad.
Opener Sami Aslam and middle-order batsmen Saad Nasim and Fawad Alam have been dropped as well. Umar Akmal, who was not picked for the Bangladesh tour, hasn’t been preferred for this series either.
Sami though impressed with his quick pace, taking four wickets in two Twenty20 matches.
Azhar Ali, who replaced Misbah-ul-Haq as one-day captain after the World Cup in April, was retained despite Pakistan’s loss in Bangladesh.
Ajmal continued to be sidelined after he struggled with his remodelled action on the Bangladesh tour following his clearance in February this year.
Ajmal’s action was deemed illegal in September last year and he had to remodel that to lift his suspension from international matches.
In Ajmal’s absence leggie Yasir Shah will be the frontline spinner in the squad. Shah missed the Bangladesh one-day series with a finger injury.
Meanwhile, the PCB remains optimistic of playing arch-rivals India in a full series in the United Arab Emirates or any other mutually agreed venue in December.
“PCB is now expecting the government of India’s permission for the revival of the series in the near future particularly after (Indian) Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s public indication that his government would support the revival of the cricket series,” it said in a statement.
Pakistan’s ODI squad: Azhar Ali (captain), Mohammad Hafeez, Ahmed Shehzad, Asad Shafiq, Haris Sohail, Shoaib Malik, Babar Azam, Mohammad Rizwan, Sarfraz Ahmed (wicketkeeper), Anwar Ali, Hammad Azam, Imad Wasim, Yasir Shah, Wahab Riaz, Mohammad Sami, Junaid Khan.