Imad & Junaid dropped for New Zealand tour


Former captain Azhar Ali and all-rounders Aamir Yamin and Mohammad Nawaz have made Pakistan’s squad for the upcoming five-match ODI series against New Zealand, but middle-order batsman Sohaib Maqsood, pacer Junaid Khan and all-rounder Imad Wasim will miss out after failing fitness tests, Chief Selector Inzamam-ul-Haq announced on Saturday.

“Azhar Ali makes a comeback to the ODI squad after being rested against Sri Lanka and having regained full fitness,” the chief selector said. “Junaid Khan has been ruled out due to a fracture in his right foot. Doctors have advised him a six-week rest.”

Regarding Wasim’s omission, he added: “Imad Wasim [is] again feeling discomfort in his knee. He has been told to work on his fitness at the National Cricket Academy.”

The Sarfraz Ahmed-led side for the series down under also includes Muhammad Hafeez, who was recently barred from bowling by the International Cricket Council (ICC) due to an illegal bowling action but maintains batting prowess.

“Hafeez is a good batsman; the board is making efforts to correct his bowling action,” Inzamam said about the inclusion of the all-rounder.

Inzamam further said the current year has been a great one for Pakistan cricket and also expressed hope that Pakistan’s stadia would soon get more international cricket.

Usman Shinwari, who had rattled the Sri Lankan batting in the aforementioned ODI series, was already out of contention due to a back injury, whereas Ahmad Shehzad was dropped after failing to impress in the same series against the islanders.

The ODI series against New Zealand will be played between January 6 and 19.

The squad for the T20I series will be announced later.

ODI Squad: Sarfraz Ahmed (c)(wk), Azhar Ali, Fakhar Zaman, Imam-Ul-Haq, Babar Azam, Shoaib Malik, Muhammad Hafeez, Haris Sohail, Faheem Ashraf, Shadab Khan, Muhammad Nawaz, Muhammad Amir, Hasan Ali, Aamir Yamin and Rumman Raees.

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