Mohammad Amir returns to Pakistan squad for South Africa ODIs

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Pakistan have named a 16-member squad for the upcoming five-match one-day international series against South Africa, beginning 19 January, with Mohammad Amir making his comeback to the 50-over side.

Apart from Amir, Shan Masood, Hussain Talat and Mohammad Rizwan have also made the squad at the expense of Asif Ali, Haris Sohail and Junaid Khan, all of whom featured in Pakistan’s last ODI series, against New Zealand in the United Arab Emirates last year.

Amir’s return strengthens the bowling attack that has Hasan Ali, Shaheen Afridi and Usman Shinwari. Mohammad Abbas has been rested for better management of his workload, chairman of selectors Inzamam-ul-Haq said.

Led by Sarfaraz Ahmed, the squad has Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Masood, Babar Azam, Shoaib Malik, Mohammad Hafeez and Talat as the front-line batsmen, Imad Wasim and Faheem Ashraf as all-rounders, and Shadab Khan as the specialist spinner.

“The selected team is a unanimous choice of the selection panel, including Pakistan captain Sarfaraz Ahmed and Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur,” Haq said.

“While selecting the squad, we have tried to maintain consistency, taking into consideration player performances in white-ball cricket as well as looking ahead to the upcoming ODI challenges, including the World Cup.”

Conceding that Abbas’ workload management needs to be done “smartly”, Haq added, “He is very much in our scheme of things, but we have to manage his workload intelligently. He has just made a return following an injury, and we would like to give him sufficient rest before considering him for future assignments.

“Amir’s good performance in the Test series not only made him an automatic selection, but also helped us in the decision to rest Abbas.”

Talat is the only uncapped player in the squad, but has played 11 Twenty20 Internationals for Pakistan. He has 1402 runs from 59 List-A games since making his 50-over debut in 2018, and has scored 194 runs and picked up six wickets with his medium-pace bowling from seven matches in the 2018-19 season.

“Asif Ali has been dropped due to an inconsistent and below-par performance. In his place, we have decided to give Hussain Talat an opportunity to show his mettle and skills. He is a good left-handed batsman, who can also bowl,” said Haq.

Squad: Sarfaraz Ahmed (c & wk), Babar Azam, Faheem Ashraf, Fakhar Zaman, Hasan Ali, Hussain Talat, Imad Wasim, Imam-ul-Haq, Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Rizwan, Shadab Khan, Shaheen Afridi, Shan Masood, Shoaib Malik, Usman Shinwari