LAHORE: Uncapped Asif Afridi and Mohammad Haris have been named in Pakistan squads for the three ODIs and one-off T20I against Australia.
Left-arm spinner Asif and wicketkeeper/batter Haris have earned the selectors’ nod as result of their impressive performances in the domestic circuit as the selectors have continued to provide opportunities to high-performing players as part of their strategy to increase the pool of top-class cricketers and developing a formidable bench-strength.
In the recently concluded seventh edition of the HBL Pakistan Super League, Asif took eight wickets in five matches for Multan Sultans, while 20-year-old Haris scored 166 runs in five matches at an impressive strike-rate of 186.5 for Peshawar Zalmi. In the ongoing Pakistan Cup, Haris has already scored 219 runs in seven matches at an average of just under 44 for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, while Asif has picked up eight wickets in seven matches for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa with an economy-rate of 4.39.
Haris was named in the Pakistan squad for the home series against New Zealand but the series couldn’t be played at the time as the Kiwis returned home on the day of the series opener.
Mohammad Nawaz, who had withdrawn from participation in the Test series for the Benaud-Qadir Trophy due to a foot injury, has been drafted in the side for both the ODI and T20I formats. However, his selection in the playing line-up will be subject to fitness test.
While the selectors have picked up 20 players for the ODIs, which are being played as part of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup Super League; they have chosen 17 players for the only T20I, leaving out Abdullah Shafique, Imam-Ul-Haq and Saud Shakeel.
Babar Azam (captain), Shadab Khan (vice-captain), Abdullah Shafique, Asif Afridi, Asif Ali, Fakhar Zaman, Haider Ali, Haris Rauf, Hasan Ali, Iftikhar Ahmed, Imam-Ul-Haq, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Haris (wicketkeeper), Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan (wicketkeeper), Mohammad Wasim Jnr, Saud Shakeel, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Shahnawaz Dahani, and Usman Qadir.
Babar Azam (captain), Shadab Khan (vice-captain), Asif Afridi, Asif Ali, Fakhar Zaman, Haider Ali, Haris Rauf, Hasan Ali, Iftikhar Ahmed, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Haris (wicketkeeper), Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan (wicketkeeper), Mohammad Wasim Jnr, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Shahnawaz Dahani, and Usman Qadir.
Muhammad Wasim, Chair of the Selection Committee: “I want to congratulate Asif and Haris on their inclusions in squads for the Australia series. This is a reward for their hard work and consistent performances in the domestic circuit. Their selections are also a message for all domestic players that their performances are being followed and whenever an opportunity arises, they will be rewarded with a national team call-up.
“Australia are an equally outstanding team in the shorter formats of the game and, as such, we have decided to go with the best available and most experienced players. The four white-ball matches have significant context as the 50-over games count towards the 2023 World Cup qualification and the 20-over will be a repeat of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021 semi-final.
“So, a lot to look-out for when the two sides will compete in coloured kits.”
The white-ball players will assemble in Lahore on 22 March and will undergo a three-day room isolation following which they will be allowed to integrate with the national side.
Australia are ranked No.3 in ODIs, while they are the reigning T20 world champions, whereas Pakistan is ranked sixth and third in the 50-over and 20-over formats, respectively.