World Cup discards Abid Ali, Ifthikar Ahmed, Mohammad Rizwan, Usman Shinwari and Mohammad Nawaz have been recalled to Pakistan’s ODI squad for the upcoming home series against Sri Lanka. The new head coach and chief selector, Misbah-ul-Haq, told the media that he was looking to build separate ODI and T20 squads.
“Our performances in one-day cricket have been inconsistent. I think we need to improve our bowling and fielding a lot for the 50-overs cricket as we lost matches before and in the World Cup even after putting up 300 plus totals,” Misbah said.
All five players were overlooked by former chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq and ex-head coach Mickey Arthur for the World Cup. But Misbah said they were straightforward selections for this series. “Iftikhar Ahmed is a batsman who can also bowl off-spin and provides the captain with necessary bowling depth as Sri Lanka boasts a few left-handers in their ranks.
“Mohammad Nawaz has been performing well in domestic matches. Despite their strong performances, Mohammad Rizwan, Usman Shinwari and Abid Ali were unlucky to miss out the World Cup squad,” he said.
Misbah also underlined that the batsmen have been doing a good job at posting 300 plus totals regularly, but the team traditionally relies on its strong bowling unit. The former Pakistan captain also said that he felt skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed had undermined his batting potential in recent matches. “I have spoken to him and I have told him he needs to be batting regularly because he is the sort of batsman who can quickly change the game.”
Misbah added that the side was not going to underestimate its opponents because 10 Sri Lankan players refused to tour Pakistan citing security concerns. “These are the only 50-over matches we play this season and we want to make their optimum use. Over the course of my cricketing career, I have realized there are no easy games and there are no easy opponents.”
Asked why he had not included any new players in the squad, Misbah said he had no issues with selecting new players but the Pakistan team was not a laboratory to test players.
“We will only pick those players who have the required fitness and who have performed enough to be given serious consideration. In the past, we have seen we picked players prematurely and after one or two matches they found it difficult to cope with the pressures of international cricket.”
Pakistan will host Sri Lanka for three ODIs and as many T20s from September 27 to October 9.
Pakistan ODI squad vs Sri Lanka: Sarfaraz Ahmed (c & wk), Babar Azam (vc), Abid Ali, Asif Ali, Fakhar Zaman, Haris Sohail, Iftikhar Ahmed, Imad Wasim, Imam-ul-Haq, Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan, Shadab Khan, Usman Shinwari, Wahab Riaz