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LAHORE: With one eye on this year’s 50-over ACC Asia Cup and the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup, the Pakistan men’s interim selection committee on Thursday named a 16-member squad for the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup Super League matches against New Zealand, which will be played here at the National Bank Cricket Arena on January 9, 11 and 13.

Uncapped batter Tayyab Tahir and wrist spinner Usama Mir have been named in the squad after producing stellar performances in the Pakistan Cup, while Shan Masood and Haris Sohail have been recalled after missing out on ODI cricket since 2019 and 2020, respectively. Kamran Ghulam, who is part of the Test squad, has also been included in the ODI side for the first time. Pacer Haris Rauf, who was injured during the first Test against England in Rawalpindi, has regained complete fitness and has been named in the line-up.

However, Shaheen Shah Afridi, despite making good progress, has not been included as the selectors, in consultation with the medical panel, have decided to give him more time to reclaim complete fitness.

He is expected to return to competitive cricket next month in the HBL Pakistan Super League 8. Pakistan vice-captain Shadab Khan was not considered for selection after he suffered a fracture on his right index finger in Australia last week.

Shahid Afridi, Interim Chief Selector said: “We had limited ODI cricket last year but this year, we are scheduled to play 11 ODIs before we participate in the ACC Asia Cup, followed by the World Cup in conditions that will be familiar to us. Players who could not make in the ODI side will remain in contention as the objective from this series is want to have absolute clarity on the pool of players for international cricket in 2023.

For this reason, outstanding domestic performers and senior players getting back to form and fitness are being given opportunities to showcase their performances. Workload management and separate squads for red and white-ball cricket is also under consideration, which will require a wider pool of players. I urge the players to continue to work hard and be ready for a call-up.”

Pakistan’s ODI squad: Babar Azam (captain), Fakhar Zaman, Haris Rauf, Haris Sohail, Imam-ul-Haq, Kamran Ghulam, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan, Mohammad Wasim Jnr, Naseem Shah, Salman Ali Agha, Shahnawaz Dahani, Shan Masood, Tayyab Tahir and Usama Mir.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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