Junaid Khan axed as Inzamam announces ODI squad for South Africa series

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Fast bowler Junaid Khan was the main casualty as Pakistan’s squad for the upcoming five-match ODI series against South Africa was announced on Wednesday.

“Junaid Khan has not been considered for this tour because we feel he has to work more on his bowling since the fitness issues that had cut short his series against New Zealand,” chief selector Inzamam explained.

All-rounder Asif Ali has also been axed, with Inzamam saying: “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.”

Commenting on the continued non-selection of pacer Mohammad Abbas in the ODI squad, the chief selector said: “He 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.”

The 16-member team is vastly different from the Test side, which is currently in Johannesburg preparing for the third and final match.

The list does not include Asad Shafiq, Azhar Ali, Haris Sohail, Abbas and Yasir Shah but features Mohammad Hafeez, Shoaib Malik, Hussain Talat, Usman Shinwari and Imad Wasim.

“The selected team is a unanimous choice of the selection panel, including Pakistan captain Sarfaraz Ahmed and Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur,” Inzamam said adding, “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.”

The chief selector said he was hopeful that the ODI squad would fare better than the Test roster brushed aside by South African in the ongoing Test series.

“I have had separate discussions with the coach and captain, and while they are disappointed with the performance in the Test series, they remain optimistic and confident that they can turn things around,” Inzamam said.

The ODI series, which starts January 19 and ends on January 30, will be followed by a T20 series, the squad for which is yet to be announced.