Shan Masood, who was named ODI vice-captain earlier this year, has been excluded from the Pakistan squads for the forthcoming series against Afghanistan in Sri Lanka and the Asia Cup. In a squad largely unchanged from the previous one that faced New Zealand in May, the new chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq has introduced some key changes, with Faheem Ashraf’s return after a two-year hiatus being a significant move.
Saud Shakeel, who displayed impressive form during the recent Test series in Sri Lanka but has had limited exposure in ODIs, has secured a spot in the 18-man squad for the ODIs against Afghanistan, while a 17-member squad has been named for the Asia Cup.
Inzamam explained the decision to include Faheem Ashraf, stating, “Preference has been given to Faheem Ashraf, since the squad doesn’t have another allrounder. 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.”
Regarding Masood’s omission, Inzamam ul Haq stated, “Shan has performed very well overall across formats. Unfortunately, his performances in ODIs have declined. 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 have to leave out Shan. But he is a part of our plans.”
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Masood’s ODI performances have been limited, with just nine matches played in his career, and only 52 runs scored, including a highest score of 44 this year. Faheem Ashraf, on the other hand, makes a comeback to the ODI side after a two-year absence.Tayyab, on his part, has earned his second call-up to the ODI side. His first selection came ahead of the three ODIs against New Zealand in January following an outstanding Pakistan Cup campaign.
Most recently, he played a match-winning knock of 108 off 71 balls in Pakistan A’s victory over India A in the ACC Men’s Emerging Cup final. While Ihsanullah has been grappling with an elbow injury and is undergoing rehabilitation, another absence that raised eyebrows is Mohammad Hasnain. He wasn’t part of the ODI series against New Zealand and has featured in just one ODI since May 2021. Concerns about his fitness in the 50-over format appear to be at the forefront.
The squad will convene in Hambantota on August 18, following a three-day camp from August 14 to 16 at the National Cricket Academy in Lahore. Inzamam was reinstated as a chief selector by PCB chairman Zaka Ashraf, shortly after he was appointed to a cricket technical committee headed by Misbah-ul-Haq.
Following his appointment as chief selector, Inzamam stepped down from that committee, and a replacement will be announced in due course. Following the Afghanistan series and the Asia Cup, the ODI World Cup in India is set to commence on October 5. The team needs to finalize a 15-member squad by September 5, with allowances for changes 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, Faheem Ashraf, Mohammad Wasim