Pakistan rest key players, Malik to lead in Australia ODI series

Captain Sarfraz Ahmed is one of six players rested by Pakistan for their one-day series against Australia, with Shoaib Malik leading a 16-man squad that includes Umar Akmal and Junaid Khan.

With a tour to England and also the Cricket World Cup looming on the horizon, Pakistan's selectors have opted to leave out some of their leading names for the upcoming 50-over fixtures in the United Arab Emirates.

As well as wicketkeeper Sarfraz, Babar Azam, Fakhar Zaman, Hasan Ali, Shadab Khan and Shaheen Afridi will not be involved.

Mohammad Hafeez also misses out as he is recovering from thumb surgery, while Hussain Talat is dropped following the 3-2 ODI series defeat to South Africa last month.

Uncapped quartet Abid Ali, Mohammad Abbas, Mohammad Hasnain and Saad Ali have been called up after impressing at domestic level, while batsman Akmal and seamer Junaid are recalled.

Leg-spinner Yasir Shah is also included as Pakistan look to manage their players carefully ahead of a busy schedule.

"Had there been no pre-World Cup matches in England, then we would not have made these many changes," Inzamam-ul-Haq, who is chairman of selectors, said in a statement.

"While Haris Sohail, Junaid Khan, Umar Akmal and Yasir Shah are returning to ODI cricket, Abid Ali, Mohammad Abbas, Mohammad Hasnain and Saad Ali have been rewarded for stellar performances in domestic cricket.

"The series against the world champions will not be an easy one and these players, in fact, will be tested to their limits.

"This will provide these players a great opportunity to display their skills and temperament, strengthening their claims for a World Cup call-up as there are a few places up for grabs."

The first one-dayer takes place on March 22 with the series concluding before the end of the month.


Pakistan squad: Shoaib Malik (captain), Abid Ali, Faheem Ashraf, Haris Sohail, Imad Wasim, Imam-ul-Haq, Junaid Khan, Mohammad Abbas, Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Rizwan, Saad Ali, Shan Masood, Umar Akmal, Usman Shinwari, Yasir Shah.

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