Karachi: Pakistan have made a number of changes in their ODI cricket squad for the short home series against Zimbabwe, recalling seniors such as Shoaib Malik and Muhammad Sami in the 16-member side.
Malik and Sami, who were both recalled for the two T20 matches against the African team after long layoffs from international cricket, were retained for the three one-day matches as well. Malik's bowling form in the two T20 matches apparently won him a recall to the ODI squad after nearly two years even as he failed with the bat twice.
The announcement of the squad came just a few minutes after Pakistan wrapped up the two-match T20 series with a nail-biting last over win at the jam-packed Gaddafi stadium last night.
Ironically, Bilawal Bhatti, who steered Pakistan to a two wicket win by scoring 12 runs in the final over, couldn't find a place in the ODI squad. Also dropped from the ODI team that recently played in Bangladesh were batsman Fawad Alam, all-rounder Saad Nasim, young opener Sami Aslam and spinner Zulfiqar Babar.
The selectors also ignored the claims of batsman Umar Akmal, who played in both T20 games which marked the return of international cricket to Pakistan after six years. But opener Ahmed Shahzad made a comeback while the selectors also decided to test out uncapped Immad Wasim, batsman Babar Azam and recalled all-rounders, Hammad Azam and Anwar Ali.
There was no place for hard hitting opener Mukhtar Ahmed, who scored 87 and 65 in the T20 matches against the Zimbabweans and won back to back-to-back man-of-the-match awards and man-of-the-series awards. The series win was also hailed by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
Azhar Ali (C), Muhammad Hafeez, Ahmed Shahzad, Asad Shafiq, Haris Sohail, Shoaib Malik, Babar Azam, Muhammad Rizwan, Sarfraz Ahmed (VC), Anwar Ali, Hammad Azam, Immad Wasim, Yasir Shah, Wahab Riaz, Muhammad Sami, Junaid Khan.