New Zealand vs Pakistan 2018: Pakistan announce squad for ODI series
What's the story?
Pakistan have announced a 15-man squad for their upcoming ODI series in New Zealand. In the Sarfraz Ahmed-led contingent, opener Azhar Ali and pacer Mohammad Amir have returned to contention after recovering from their respective injuries that had ruled them out of the team's previous ODI assignment against Sri Lanka in the UAE.
While opener Ahmed Shehzad was left out for Azhar Ali, Amir's return will bolster Pakistan's pace attack which took a considerable hit owing to the injuries of Junaid Khan and Usman Khan. Consequently, seam all-rounder Aamer Yamin has made a comeback into the ODI squad.
All-rounder Imad Wasim was not available for selection as he had complained of discomfort in his knee. In his place, the selection committee have picked a like-for-like replacement in left-arm spinner Mohammad Nawaz.
Having sustained a stress-related injury on his right shin during the second Test against Sri Lanka in Dubai, Amir was ruled out of the ensuing ODI series. However, he returned to action during the third T20I against a depleted Lankan lineup at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore.
Meanwhile, a knee injury had kept Azhar Ali out of the 5-match ODI series against Sri Lanka. Chief Selector Inzamam-ul-Haq's nephew Imam-ul-Haq made full use of the opportunity by scoring a splendid century on debut.
The heart of the matter
Pakistan ODI Squad: Sarfraz Ahmed (c) (wk), Azhar Ali, Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Babar Azam, Shoaib Malik, Mohammad Hafeez, Haris Sohail, Faheem Ashraf, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Amir, Hasan Ali, Aamer Yamin and Rumman Raees
Support Staff: Mickey Arthur (Head Coach), Talat Ali Malik (Team Manager), Grant Flower (Batting Coach), Azhar Mahmood (Bowling Coach), Steve Rixon (Fielding Coach), Grant Luden (Fitness Coach), Talha Ejaz Butt (Team Analyst), Aun Zaidi (Media Manager) and Colonel Azam Khan (Security Manager)
The five-match ODI series between New Zealand and Pakistan will begin at the Basin Reserve in Wellington on January 6. Following the conclusion of the ODI series, the two teams will square-off for a three-match T20I series as well.
With third seamer Junaid injured, Pakistan's pace attack will largely revolve around spearheads Hasan Ali and Amir. Factoring Shadab Khan's promising potential into account, skipper Sarfraz may not miss the presence of Imad Wasim as much. The onus will be on the visitors' batting lineup to put up substantial scores and lessen the burden of their world-class bowling attack.