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Pakistan rest key players for Australia series, Shoaib Malik to lead in Sarfaraz Ahmed's absence

Pakistan have also opted to rest  Shadab Khan, Fakhar Zaman, Babar Zaman, Hasan Ali and Shaheen Shah Afridi in the series against Australia.

PTI PTI
Karachi Published on: March 08, 2019 18:45 IST
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Pakistan on Friday rested captain Sarfaraz Ahmed

Pakistan on Friday rested captain Sarfaraz Ahmed and some other key players while recalling Umar Akmal and Junaid Khan for the upcoming five-match ODI series against Australia in the UAE.

Besides Sarfaraz, Shadab Khan, Fakhar Zaman, Babar Zaman, Hasan Ali and Shaheen Shah Afridi are the other players who have been rested for the series, starting March 22 in Sharjah. 

In Sarfaraz's absence, veteran all-rounder Shoaib Malik will lead Pakistan in the series.

Medium-pacer Hussain Talat has been dropped from the squad that lost 2-3 to South Africa earlier this year, while Mohammad Hafeez was not considered as he is recovering from a thumb surgery.

Pakistan chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq said the decision to rest Sarfaraz and others was taken largely to ensure they get adequate break before the World Cup. 

"The idea is to have them fresh and fully fit for the World Cup as they have been playing consistently for the last five months," Inzamam said.

The 16-member squad also includes uncapped players Abid Ali, Saad Ali, Mohammad Abbas and Mohammad Hasnain, who has consistently clocked speeds of 150 kph in this year's Pakistan Super League.

Umar has made a comeback to the national team after remaining in the sidelines since early 2016 when he last played in Australia.

Both Abid Ali and Saad Ali have been rewarded for their consistent performances with the bat in domestic cricket.

Inzamam said Umar had been picked after consultations with the team management and the batsman was under consideration for the World Cup.

Asked about Umar's past issues with coach Mickey Arthur and the establishment, Inzamam said the batsman has learnt his lessons. 

"We need a batsmen at number five or six for the World Cup who can play forcefully and we feel Umar could fill in that gap if he performs," he said.

Inzamam also said that young Hasnain is a bright prospect and had been picked because of his raw pace. 

"I don't know if he will get chance to play against Australia but if he continues to impress I wouldn't rule him out for the World Cup," the chief selector said.

Inzamam also insisted that Sarfaraz will lead Pakistan in the World Cup. 

“There should be no doubt about this," he said.

Pakistan squad: Shoaib Malik (C), Abid Ali, Faheem Ashraf, Haris Sohail, Imad Wasim, Imam-ul-Haq, Saad Ali, Abid Ali, Muhammad Rizwan (WK), Yasir Shah, Muhamamd Hasnain, Usman Shinwari, Muhammad Aamir, Umar Akmal, Muhammad Abbas, Shaan Masood, Junaid Khan.

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