The newly appointed Pakistan Cricket Selection Committee, led by Shahid Afridi, has named a 22-man probable list for the upcoming three-match ODI series against New Zealand.
Babar Azam and co. will compete against the Blackcaps across three matches as part of the ongoing cycle of the ODI World Cup Super League.
A 16-man squad out of 22 players will be named in due time by the selection committee. The final squad is expected to be announced after the conclusion of the Pakistan Cup and midway through the second Test between Pakistan and New Zealand in Karachi.
The 22-man list included two long-term absentees in Sharjeel Khan and Shan Masood.
Sharjeel Khan, an explosive left-handed opening batter, was banned by the PCB for his role in the 2017 Pakistan Super League (PSL) spot-fixing scandal.
He last featured for the national side in a T20I contest in 2021, but his last ODI appearance came five years ago.
Shan Masood, a regular feature in the Test and T20I setups, could also potentially make a return to the ODI scaffold after a three-year absence.
His last and only set of ODI appearances came during a five-match series against Australia in the UAE. He scored 111 runs at an average of 22.20 before being dropped from the side altogether.
Stalwarts Shaheen Shah Afridi and Fakhar Zaman miss out on the squad as they continue to recover from their respective knee injuries. The duo aggravated their injuries during the T20 World Cup 2022 in Australia and are far from returning to action.
The Shahid Afridi-led panel has included six uncapped players in the 22-man mix in the form of Abrar Ahmed, Aamer Jamal, Ihsanullah, Kamran Ghulam, Qasim Akram, and Tayyab Tahir.
Leg-spinner Abrar Ahmed has made a bright start to his Test career with a prolific debut against England in Multan. He is currently part of the playing XI that is taking on New Zealand in the first Test.
Spinner Zahid Mahmood and middle-order batter Khushdil Shah are the other names missing from Pakistan’s previous ODI squad. The Men in Green last played in the 50-over format against the Netherlands in August 2022.
Babar Azam (captain), Abdullah Shafique, Abrar Ahmed, Aamer Jamal, Haris Rauf, Hasan Ali, Ihsanullah, Imam-ul-Haq, Kamran Ghulam, Mohammad Haris, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan, Mohammad Wasim, Naseem Shah, Qasim Akram, Salman Ali Agha, Shadab Khan, Shahnawaz Dahani, Shan Masood, Sharjeel Khan and Tayyab Tahir
The ODI series between Pakistan and New Zealand will begin on January 9. 2023. All three matches are slated to be played at the National Stadium in Karachi.
Will the Men in Green extend their streak of eight ODI wins with a cleansweep over New Zealand at home? Let us know what you think.
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