LAHORE - Pakistani selectors avoided pressing the panic button while announcing a 17-member squad on Saturday for the ODI and Twenty20 series in South Africa with Misbahul Haq being retained as captain of the one-day side.

Fast bowler M Irfan has been ruled out of Pakistan’s short limited-overs trip to South Africa this month due to injury while quick bowler Wahab Riaz, who went wicket-less in three ODIs against South Africa in the UAE, has been dropped. Two players, medium-pace bowling all-rounder Bilawal Bhatti and fast bowler Anwar Ali, were added to the limited-overs squad which lost the T20s 2-0 and the ODIs 4-1 to South Africa in the UAE.

Bhatti is one of the few prospects from Pakistan’s domestic circuit in recent years, forging a reputation with his all-round play. He has been in national contention for the last two years, but was left behind on the back of an injury he sustained last year. He is one of the few nippy bowlers in Pakistan who can bat fluently, and has two first-class hundreds to his name for domestic side, Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL).

Anwar, 25, made a name for himself during Pakistan’s successful U-19 World Cup campaign in Sri Lanka in 2006, and has played three T20s for Pakistan so far, the most recent being on the Zimbabwe tour in August. While there has been a reshuffle in the bowling, it is the batting that has repeatedly let Pakistan down in recent series, a department in which there were no major changes.

The selectors have retained senior players Shahid Afridi, Abdul Razzaq and Shoaib Malik in the squad despite unimpressive performances in the recent series in the UAE.

Speculations were rife about Misbah’s captaincy future after Pakistan were drubbed 1-4 in the UAE and also lost a Test to the Proteas. Misbah’s misfortunes have continued since the tour to Zimbabwe where Pakistan lost a one-dayer and a Test to lead to calls from former players and critics to replace him as captain. The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) spokesman said that the ODI and T20 teams would be selected from the 17-member squad.


Misbahul Haq (ODI capt), M Hafeez (T20 capt), Ahmed Shehzad, Umar Akmal (wk), Umar Amin, Shahid Afridi, Abdul Razzaq, Shoaib Malik, Sohaib Maqsood, Sohail Tanvir, Anwar Ali, Junaid Khan, Saeed Ajmal, Abdur Rehman, Nasir Jamshed, Asad Shafiq and Bilawal Bhatti.