Pakistan recall Azhar Ali for ODI series vs New Zealand

Pakistan has recalled opening batsman Azhar Ali to its squad for the five-match ODI series against New Zealand in January.

Former captain Ali was part of Pakistan’s Champions Trophy-winning team in June. His recall comes after being rested during Pakistan’s one-day international series against Sri Lanka in the United Arab Emirates, which Pakistan swept 5-0.

Left-arm fast bowler Junaid Khan and all-rounder Imad Wasim will miss the ODI series against New Zealand due to injuries and have been replaced by Aamir Yamin and Haris Sohail, respectively.

“The team has been selected keeping in mind the conditions and the recent performances of some players in the domestic tournament,” chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq said Saturday.

Junaid has been ruled out due to a fracture in his right foot with the left-arm fast bowler advised by doctors to rest for six weeks.

“Imad felt discomfort in his previously injured knee and has been told to work on his fitness at the National Cricket Academy,” Inzamam said.

The 15-member squad includes aggressive opener Fakhar Zaman and Inzamam’s nephew, Imam-ul-Haq, who scored a century on his ODI debut against Sri Lanka. The experienced trio of Shoaib Malik, Babar Zaman and captain Sarfraz Ahmed form the nucleus of Pakistan’s middle-order lineup.

The ODI series takes place Jan. 6-19. There is also a three-match Twenty20 series against New Zealand, starting Jan. 22, with Pakistan’s squad to be named later.

Pakistan’s ODI squad: Sarfraz Ahmed (captain), Azhar Ali, Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Babar Azam, Shoaib Malik, Mohammad Hafeez, Haris Sohail, Faheem Ashraf, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Amir, Hasan Ali, Aamir Yamin, Rumman Raees.

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