Mohammad Haris, Asif Afridi earn call-ups for Pakistan’s white-ball series against Australia

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Uncapped players Mohammad Haris and Asif Afridi on Thursday earned call-ups for Pakistan’s white-ball series, comprising three ODIs and one-off T20I against Australia.

Left-arm spinner Asif and wicketkeeper-batter Haris have earned the selectors’ nod to the squads led by Babar Azam as result of their impressive performances in the domestic circuit.

“I want to congratulate Asif and Haris on their inclusions in squads for the Australia series. This is a reward for their hard work and consistent performances in the domestic circuit. Their selections are also a message for all domestic players that their performances are being followed and whenever an opportunity arises, they will be rewarded with a national team call-up,” said Muhammad Wasim, Chair of the Selection Committee.

In the recently concluded seventh edition of Pakistan Super League (PSL), Asif took eight wickets in five matches for Multan Sultans, while 20-year-old Haris scored 166 runs in five matches at an impressive strike-rate of 186.5 for Peshawar Zalmi.

In the ongoing Pakistan Cup, Haris has already scored 219 runs in seven matches at an average of just under 44 for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, while Asif has picked up eight wickets in seven matches for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa with an economy-rate of 4.39. Haris was named in the Pakistan squad for the home series against New Zealand but the series couldn’t be played at the time as the Kiwis returned home on the day of the series opener.

“Australia are an equally outstanding team in the shorter formats of the game and, as such, we have decided to go with the best available and most experienced players. The four white-ball matches have significant context as the 50-over games count towards the 2023 World Cup qualification and the 20-over will be a repeat of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021 semi-final. So, a lot to look-out for when the two sides will compete in coloured kits,” added Wasim.

Left-arm spinner Mohammad Nawaz, who didn’t feature in the ongoing Benaud-Qadir Trophy due to a foot injury, has been drafted in the side for both the ODI and T20I formats. However, his selection in the playing line-up will be subject to fitness test.

While a 20-member squad has been picked for the three-match ODI series that comes under the ODI Super League, the selectors have omitted Abdullah Shafique, Imam-Ul-Haq and Saud Shakeel from the group for the lone T20I.

The white-ball players will assemble in Lahore on March 22 and will undergo a three-day room isolation following which they will join the national side. Australia are ranked third in ODIs apart from being reigning men’s T20 World Cup champions.

Pakistan, on the other hand, are ranked sixth and third in the 50-over and 20-over formats, respectively. In the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup Super League, Australia are seventh and Pakistan ninth to determine the top seven teams who will directly qualify for the 2023 ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup to be hosted by India in October-November next year.

ODI squad: Babar Azam (captain), Shadab Khan (vice-captain), Abdullah Shafique, Asif Afridi, Asif Ali, Fakhar Zaman, Haider Ali, Haris Rauf, Hasan Ali, Iftikhar Ahmed, Imam-Ul-Haq, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Haris (wicketkeeper), Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan (wicketkeeper), Mohammad Wasim Jnr, Saud Shakeel, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Shahnawaz Dahani and Usman Qadir

T20I squad: Babar Azam (captain), Shadab Khan (vice-captain), Asif Afridi, Asif Ali, Fakhar Zaman, Haider Ali, Haris Rauf, Hasan Ali, Iftikhar Ahmed, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Haris (wicketkeeper), Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan (wicketkeeper), Mohammad Wasim Jnr, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Shahnawaz Dahani and Usman Qadir

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