Credit: Twitter

Credit: Twitter

Pakistan have announced their 18-man squad for the upcoming ODI series against Afghanistan and the ACC Men’s Asia Cup 2023, which will be held in Sri Lanka and Pakistan, respectively. The squad was named by the new chief selector, Inzamam-ul-Haq who has made some interesting decisions.

The most notable inclusions are Saud Shakeel, who has played only five ODIs so far but has impressed in the recent Test Series against Sri Lanka, and Faheem Ashraf, who has been recalled after a gap of more than two years. Shakeel will play only the Afghanistan series and will not be involved in the Asia Cup. Ihsanullah is left out as he is undergoing rehabilitation for an elbow injury, and Shan Masood is dropped from the team due to a string of subpar performances.

"Preference has been given to Faheem Ashraf since the squad doesn't have another allrounder," Inzamam said at a press conference after announcing the squad. "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."

The squad also features a second ODI call-up for Tayyab Tahir after his sizzling performances on the domestic circuit. Tahir’s hundred in the final of the ACC Emerging Asia Cup helped Pakistan A beat India A to the title. The PCB have also confirmed that the squad will assemble in Hambantota on August 18, prior to which there will be a three-day camp from August 14 to 16 at the National Cricket Academy, Lahore.

Pakistan are coming off a dominating 4-1 ODI series win over New Zealand at home, where Fakhar Zaman and Haris Rauf dominated the charts with 363 runs and nine wickets, respectively. Albeit, New Zealand were not at their full strength with the IPL happening simultaneously, Pakistan are high on confidence and will look to continue their form into the World Cup later this year. 

Pakistan squad: 

Abdullah Shafique, Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Babar Azam (captain), Salman Ali Agha, Iftikhar Ahmed, Tayyab Tahir, Saud Shakeel (only for Afghanistan series), Mohammad Rizwan, Mohammad Haris, Shadab Khan (vice-captain), Mohammad Nawaz, Usama Mir, Faheem Ashraf, Haris Rauf, Mohammad Wasim Jnr, Naseem Shah, Shaheen Afridi