Lahore: Veteran all-rounder Shoaib Malik has been left out of the Pakistan squad for the upcoming ODI and T20I series against Zimbabwe beginning October 30.
Pakistan have not played ODIs since the home series against Sri Lanka 12 months ago and the three-match ODI series in Rawalpindi — to be played on October 30, November 1 and 3 — will be part of World Cup Super League from which the seven top-ranked sides, apart from hosts India, will qualify directly for the 2023 World Cup.
Malik, who was player of the final in National T20 Cup on Sunday evening, has made way for Abdullah Shafiq, while Rohail Nazir has been named as Mohammad Rizwan’s back-up wicketkeeper. Sarfaraz Ahmed, who was part of the squad for the England tour, has been encouraged to feature in the first-class Quaid-e-Azam Trophy, starting October 25, so that he rediscovers better form ahead of the New Zealand tour, stated Pakistan Cricket Board in a media release.
“Seniors like Shoaib Malik and Sarfaraz Ahmed have not been picked for this series, but I want to categorically state that their careers are not over by any means as performance remains the only criterion for selection,” Pakistan head coach and chief selector Misbah-ul-Haq said.
“These are strategic decisions as Shoaib’s absence will provide players like Abdullah Shafiq, Haider Ali and Khushdil Shah better chances of featuring in the upcoming matches,” he added.
The probables will assemble in Lahore on October 21 for Covid-19 testing and after observing a five-day isolation period, during which they will play two 50-over matches at the Gaddafi Stadium, will travel to Rawalpindi on October 26.
The probables for three T20Is — to be played on November 7, 8 and 10 — will be shortlisted after the ODIs and players unlikely to feature in them will be advised to play in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy third round matches, which will commence from 6 November.
Pakistan probables for ODIs and T20Is: Babar Azam (captain), Shadab Khan (vice-captain), Abdullah Shafiq, Abid Ali, Faheem Ashraf, Fakhar Zaman, Haider Ali, Haris Rauf, Haris Sohail, Iftikhar Ahmed, Imad Wasim, Imam-ul-Haq, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Rizwan, Musa Khan, Rohail Nazir, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Usman Qadir, Wahab Riaz and Zafar Gohar