By Muhammad Asif Khan
KARACHI: The Pakistan one day squad has been announced to take on England and Ireland in the ODI series beginning later this month. A couple of aspects caught the attention of cricket followers and they started raising questions about one inclusion and one snub.
Pakistan Cricket selectors, on Tuesday, announced the 15-member ODI squad for the series against Ireland and England.
The Pakistan squad includes Azhar Ali, Sharjeel Khan, Sami Aslam, Mohammad Hafeez, Baber Azam, Shoaib Malik, Sarfraz Ahmad, Mohammad Rizwan, Mohammad Amir, Wahab Riaz, Hasan Ali, Umer Gul, Immad Wasim, Yasir Shah and Mohammad Nawaz
On Junaid Khan’s exclusion, a source claimed that the fast bowler lacked rhythm. “Junaid Khan has not been able to catch up with his lost rhythm and his pace has dropped too since his return from the knee injury”, the source said
Junaid Khan suffered knee injury before the World Cup last year and missed the mega event.
Junaid Khan, 26, has played 52 one-day internationals for Pakistan since his debut in 2011. Junaid Khan last represented Pakistan, in an ODI, in May 2015.
On Muhammad Hafeez’s retention in the ODI squad, despite the recent batting form, the source said the right-hander’s recent ODI batting record warrants his place in the side. “In the past 12 months or so, Mohammad Hafeez has been a prolific scorer for Pakistan in ODIs”, the source added
“Placing him in the middle-order is not unusual either because Hafeez has been batting on the one-down position for quite some time now”, the source concluded.
The Pakistan team will play two ODIs against Ireland on August 18th and August 20th in Ireland. The five-match ODI series, against England, will commence with a game on August 24th.
The writer is a Pakistani sports journalist & tweets @mak_asif