PAKISTAN TOUR OF SOUTH AFRICA, 2018-19
Cricbuzz Staff •
Hussain Talat is yet to make his ODI debut. © Getty
Mohammad Amir, Hussain Talat, Mohammad Rizwan and Shan Masood have been drafted into Pakistan’s 16-member ODI squad for the upcoming five-match ODI series against South Africa, starting on January 19 in Port Elizabeth. Amir last played an ODI game versus India in the Asia Cup. The mainstay of Pakistan’s pace attack struggled to put up good performances last year in ODIs, averaging 100.66 in the 50-over format. He was subsequently left out across formats against Australia and New Zealand.
However, Amir proved his mettle in first class cricket in Pakistan where he bagged 23 scalps at an impressive average of 13.60 for the 2018-19 season. He also gave a good account of himself in the two One-Day games he played for Sui Southern Gas Corporation to force his way back into the national reckoning. Amir, who returned to the national fold for the South Africa Test series, has taken eight wickets at 23.87 in the first two games of the series.
Meanwhile, Talat, who hasn’t yet made his ODI debut, earned a call-up for the 50-over leg of the tour. The batting all rounder accumulated 194 runs and took six wickets in 50-over games during the 2018-19 season. He notched up a well measured unbeaten hand of 116 against UAE in the ACC Emerging Cup. The 22-year-old, who has compiled 1402 runs in List A games, has played 11 T20Is for the country.
Masood, who has accrued two fifties on tricky surfaces in the ongoing Test series versus South Africa, has also found a place in the squad. The left-handed top-order batsman is yet to play ODIs for the country. Rizwan, the wicketkeeper-batsman, also makes a comeback into the set-up.
On the other hand, Junaid Khan, the left-arm quick, has been dropped. The pacer took seven wickets at an average of 21.28 in ODIs in 2018, but Inzamam-ul-Haq, the chairman of selectors pointed out that he hasn’t been selected due to fitness issues. Haris Sohail, the middle order batsman, misses out as he is recovering from a knee injury. Asif Ali also doesn’t find a place in the squad. The 27-year-old has amassed just one fifty over 11 ODIs.
“Junaid Khan has not been considered for this tour because we feel he has to work more on his bowling since the fitness issues cut short his series against New Zealand. Asif Ali has been dropped due to inconsistent and below-par performances. In his place, we have decided to give Hussain Talat an opportunity to show his mettle and skills. He is a good left-handed batsman, who can also bowl.”
Inzaman also noted that they considered pacer Mohammad Abbas as an option, but added that they are looking to manage his workload. Abbas, who has picked up 63 scalps at an astonishing average of 17.90 in Tests, returned from a shoulder injury for the second Test versus South Africa in Cape Town.
“He (Abbas) is very much in our scheme of things, but we have to manage his workload intelligently and smartly. He has just made a return following an injury, and we would like to give him sufficient rest before considering him for future assignments.
Amir’s good performance in the Test series not only made him an automatic selection, but also helped us in the decision to rest Abbas.
“The selected team is a unanimous choice of the selection panel, including Pakistan captain Sarfaraz Ahmed and Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur. While selecting the squad, we have tried to maintain consistency, taking into consideration player performances in white-ball cricket as well as looking ahead to the upcoming ODI challenges, including the World Cup.”
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, Usman Khan