Pakistan suffered a big blow as ace pacer Wahab Riaz, batsmen Haris Sohail and Sohaib Maqsood were ruled out due to injuries. However, the silver lining is that a fit-again Mohammad Irfan was named in the Pakistan squad announced today for the series.
Chief selector Haroon Rasheed, while announcing a 16-member squad for the five-match series said :
“Wahab is being monitored and our medical panel is expected to rescan his injured left hand around the middle of this month to find out the recovery process,”
“It is hoped he recovers well in time to be available for the last two one-dayers and if he is declared fit by the medical panel the selection committee might consider sending him to Sri Lanka depending on the situation of the series and after consulting with the team management,” the former Test batsman added
Irfan had suffered a stress fracture of the pelvis before the quarter finals of the World Cup earlier this year. Irfan appeared in a National T20 event in Faisalabad last month and bowled his team to the title which led to his inclusion in the squad.
The selectors picked uncapped all-rounder Bilal Asif in the squad. Shoaib Malik was picked up for his experience and the decent performances he came up with off-lately but there was no place in the squad for the hard-hitting Umar Akmal.
The selectors retained Mohammad Hafeez in the squad although his bowling action was declared illegal for a second time since last November. He will appear for a bowling assessment test in Chennai on July 6.
Youngster Bilal Asif from Sialkot was picked and will make his debut. He recently scored a hundred in the super eights national T20 event in Faisalabad and also bowls off-spin like Hafeez.
“He is a powerful hitter in the lower order and also a handy off-spinner and could fill in the gap in case Hafeez is not cleared after his retesting in Chennai,” the chief selector added.
Pakistan will play a very important series in Sri Lanka as it needs to win to remain in contention for a spot in the 2017 Champions Trophy.
Pakistan is presently ranked 9th after losing the ODI series recently in Bangladesh.
“Team Pakistan has a packed schedule from here onwards and the selectors feel that new faces have to be inducted to assess their credentials at international level,” Mr. Rasheed said.
The squad: Ahmed Shehzad, Azhar Ali (captain), Mohammad Hafeez, Mukhtar Ahmed Asad Shafiq, Shoaib Malik, Mohammad Rizwan, Babar Azam, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Yasir Shah, Bilal Asif, Imad Wasim, Anwar Ali, Mohammad Irfan, Ehsan Adil and Rahat Ali.