Pakistan have recalled fast bowler Umar Gul to their ODI squad. The 32-year old last played 50-over cricket for his country in April 2015. Gul is one of four fast bowlers – including the uncapped Hasan Ali – chosen to play against England and Ireland from August 18.
Legspinner Yasir Shah has also made a return to limited-overs cricket for the first time since November 2015. He had been suspended for a doping offence and was unavailable for selection when Pakistan had toured New Zealand in January 2016. Seven out of the 16 men from that squad have been sidelined.
Fast bowler Mohammad Irfan was left out. In the past, Pakistan have handled him with great care considering his injury-prone nature. His pace and bounce were seen as assets, but with only 12 wickets in nine ODIs over the past 12 months, the new selection panel led by Inzamam-ul-Haq chose to look ahead.
Hasan, the 22-year old right-arm seamer, was brought in. He is the only one without any experience in international cricket. He made his List A debut in 2013 and has taken 40 wickets in 21 matches at an average of 22.87. Hasan had recently been in the UK, with the Pakistan A team, for a triangular series against England Lions and Sri Lanka A.
Ahmed Shehzad continued to be out of favour as a result of discipline and inconsistency issues. Sami Aslam, who made two high-quality half-centuries in the Edgbaston Test against England, was drafted in.
Sohaib Maqsood, who had debuted with back-to-back fifties, has not been able to do much thereafter as an average of 31.95 suggests. Anwar Ali was overlooked as well, after the allrounder finished his last two games with figures of 0 for 75 and 3 for 66. He had been wicketless four times in his last six matches, and twice conceded over 70 runs.
Mohammad Nawaz, who made his Pakistan debut in the Asia Cup in February, could be in line to make his ODI debut in the UK. He is yet to take an international wicket, but had a productive time in the Pakistan Super League where he finished with 13 strikes at an average of 18. He was also part of the A team tour to England this July.
“While picking the squad, the team management and skipper were consulted and all concerned gave their consent in this regard,” chief selector Inzamam said in a statement issued by PCB. “The team has been selected keeping in mind the conditions and the recent performances of some players in domestic and A Team tours. The team is a fine blend of experience and youth and the selectors believe that team will do well.”
Gul’s return to the Pakistan team has come two months after he had alleged the selectors of keeping “double standards.” Though he has had problems with fitness, missing large chunks of cricket in 2013 and 2014 due to a knee injury, he said he had met the minimum fitness requirements to be picked for World Cup in 2015 and was not. After he was not picked again for the Tests against England, or even the national camps in Abbottabad and Lahore, Gul said he felt the selectors had lost trust in him.
Pakistan’s ODI squad:
Azhar Ali (capt), Sharjeel Khan, Sami Aslam, Mohammad Hafeez, Babar Azam, Shoaib Malik, Sarfraz Ahmed, Mohammad Rizwan, Mohammad Amir, Wahab Riaz, Umar Gul, Hasan Ali, Imad Wasim, Yasir Shah, Mohammad Nawaz