Pakistan have recalled hard-hitting batter Sharjeel Khan into the ODI fold after five years, with the team’s new chief selector Shahid Afridi naming as many as six uncapped players in the 21-man probable list for the upcoming series against New Zealand.
While the final squad will be trimmed to 16 players next week, there will be no place for both Shaheen Shah Afridi and Fakhar Zaman, due to their ongoing knee rehabilitation.
The 21-man list is mostly made up of younger players in the system like Qasim Akram, Ihsanullah and Tayyab Tahir, who have all made a mark in the domestic circuit. Also included is top-order batter Kamran Ghulam, who scored a record 1249 runs for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in the 2020-21 Quaid-e-Azam Trophy, and is among the leading scorers in the ongoing Pakistan Cup with 435 runs from six matches, including two hundreds.
Pakistan have also called up Shan Masood, who last played an ODI more than three years ago, against Australia. Abrar Ahmed, who recently made his Test debut against England and ended with a record-breaking seven-wicket haul in the first innings, is also on the 21-man list, as is fast-bowling allrounder Aamer Jamal, who made his T20I debut in September.
Pakistan’s last ODI assignment was a three-match series in Netherlands back in August; only Zahid Mehmood has been dropped from that particular squad, while both Shaheen and Zaman are expected to return to full fitness before next year’s Pakistan Super League.
The upcoming three-match ODI series against New Zealand was originally planned to be held in September last year, but the visitors called off their limited-overs tour just minutes before the start of the first ODI, citing security concerns. The upcoming series will fully be held in Karachi, with the matches scheduled for January 9, 11 and 13.
Pakistan’s probables: Babar Azam (captain), Abdullah Shafiq, Abrar Ahmed, Aamer Jamal, Haris Rauf, Hasan Ali, Ihsanullah, Imam-ul-Haq, Kamran Ghulam, Mohammad Haris, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan, Mohammad Wasim, Naseem Shah, Qasim Akram, Salman Ali Agha, Shadab Khan, Shahnawaz Dahani, Shan Masood, Sharjeel Khan and Tayyab Tahir