Shoaib Malik to captain Pakistan against Australia in ODI series, announces PCB

  • Sarfaraz Ahmed is among six players rested; Haris Sohail, Junaid Khan, Umar Akmal and Yasir Shah recalled
  • Uncapped Abid Ali, Mohammad Abbas, Mohammad Hasnain and Saad Ali included in 16-men squad
  • Matches to be played on 22, 24, 27, 29 and 31 March in Sharjah, Abu Dhabi and Dubai
Sports

LAHORE – Shoaib Malik will lead Pakistan in this month’s one-day series against Australia after the cricket board decided to rest regular captain Sarfraz Ahmed along with five other potential Cricket World Cup players, for the five matches in the United Arab Emirates.

Beside Sarfraz, the others rested include Babar Azam, Fakhar Zaman, Hasan Ali, Shadab Khan, and Shaheen Shah Afridi, who all played in the last ODI series against South Africa which Pakistan lost 3-2.

They have been rested to keep them fresh ahead of the World Cup in England and Wales, the Pakistan cricket Board (PCB) said on Friday.

“The changes have been made taking into consideration the player workload in the build up to the World Cup,” chairman of selectors Inzamam-ul-Haq said in a statement, pointing to their 11 matches before their first match of the showpiece event against West Indies on May 31.

Pakistan is also scheduled to play five ODIs against England in May.

Shoaib Malik, 37, has played ODIs for Pakistan since 1999 but appeared in only one World Cup, in 2007. He’s been captain in 38 ODIs, winning 25. The middle-order batsman averages 35, and has taken 156 wickets with his offspin.

Middle-order batsman Hussain Talat was dropped while Mohammad Hafeez was not considered as he’s recovering from thumb surgery.

Mohammad Hafeez ruled out of PSL with fractured thumb

Middle-order batsman Umar Akmal has been given another chance, having not played an ODI since January 2017.

“Sometimes, time away from international cricket allows a player to recompose and come back strongly,” chairperson of selectors Inzamam-ul-Haq said. “I hope this happens with this player (Akmal), as a fully fit and in-form Umar will bolster the middle-order.”

Test seamer Mohammad Abbas is among four uncapped ODI players, along with opening batsman Abid Ali, middle-order batsman Saad Ali, and 18-year-old fast bowler Mohammad Hasnain.

Sharjah will host the first two ODIs on March 22 and 24, followed by the third game at Abu Dhabi on March 27. The last two games will be in Dubai on March 29 and 31.

Pakistan ODI squad

Shoaib Malik (C), Abid Ali, Faheem Ashraf, Haris Sohail, Imad Wasim, Imam-ul-Haq, Junaid Khan, Mohammad Abbas, Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Rizwan (wicketkeeper), Saad Ali, Shan Masood, Umar Akmal, Usman Shinwari, Yasir Shah