Pakistan announce ODI squad for South Africa series
What's the story?
Batsman Shan Masood and seam all-rounder Hussain Talat, who are both uncapped in ODIs, have also been drafted into the squad. From Pakistan's previous ODI series against New Zealand in the UAE, seam all-rounder Asif Ali and pacer Junaid Khan have been left out even as batsman Haris Sohail was ruled out after picking up a knee injury.
Since his meteoric spell against India in the 2017 Champions Trophy, Amir's performances have waned in the 50-over format. Bowling well within himself, he looked down on pace in New Zealand and in the Asia Cup last year.
In his last ten ODIs, the left-arm pacer had picked just three wickets. As a result, he was left out of the squad for the 3-match series against New Zealand in the UAE last year.
The heart of the matter
With skipper Sarfraz Ahmed under immense pressure for his own personal form as well as Pakistan's dwindling performances across formats, the selectors have brought in Rizwan as the back-up wicket-keeper batsman. The 26-year old has been in sensational form for Pakistan 'A' in recent times.
Having shown grit and application against a hostile pace attack on challenging pitches seen in the Test series, left-hander Shan Masood is in line to make his debut in ODIs. Interestingly, the hard-hitting Asif Ali was not included in the squad despite impressing for Cape Town Blitz in the 2018 Mzansi Super League.
Pakistan ODI Squad: Sarfraz Ahmed (c) (wk), Babar Azam, Faheem Ashraf, Fakhar Zaman, Hasan Ali, Hussain Talat, Imad Wasim, Imam-ul-Haq, Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Rizwan, Shadab Khan, Shaheen Afridi, Shan Masood, Shoaib Malik and Usman Khan Shinwari
The first of the five ODIs is scheduled to take place at Port Elizabeth on January 19. Before that, Pakistan will aim to salvage a consolation victory in the third Test which begins on the 11th in Johannesburg.