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Fit-again Azhar recalled for NZ one-dayers, Shehzad axed.

Byline: Mohammad Yaqoob

LAHORE -- Former skipper Azhar Ali and spinning all-rounder Mohammad Nawaz were named in PakA!istan's 15-member ODI squad announced by national selectors on Saturday for the five-match series in New Zealand starting early next month.

The selection committee headed by former Test captain Inzamam-ul-Haq has also recalled all-rounder Aamir Yamin for the series starting in Wellington on Jan 6.

Azhar, 32, has returned to the ODI fold after more than six months. The right-handed top-order batsman last represented Pakistan in the 50-over game in the ICC Champions Trophy final against India at The Oval in June this year, which Sarfraz Ahmed-led men won by 180 runs.

The squad also contains frontline fast bowler Mohammad Amir who, after being named in the squad for the Sri Lanka ODI series held in the UAE last October, could not join the team due to the birth of his child in London.

Left-handed batsman Haris Sohail, who played his last ODI back in May 2015 against Zimbabwe in Lahore, has retained his place in the squad.

The 23-year-old Nawaz (holding an experience of nine ODIs) and 27-year-old Aamir Yamin (three ODIs) will surely need to raise their game against a pumped up New Zealand in their backyard.

While opener Ahmed Shehzad, 26, was dropped due to his persistent poor form with the bat (one half-century in the last 12 ODIs), all-rounder Imad Wasim was ruled out of the tour after feeling discomfort in his knee that troubled him in the past. Left-arm paceman Junaid Khan was also kept out because of a fracture in his right foot.

Usman Shinwari, another left-arm quick who in his last ODI against Sri Lanka in the UAE produced a magnificent 5-34 show, had already been sidelined by a stress fracture of the back last month.

'The national selection committee headed by Inzamam-ul-Haq after consultation with captain Sarfraz Ahmed and head coach Mickey Arthur, has announced the 15-member ODI squad for the five-match ODI series against New Zealand. The T20 squad will be announced later. The five-match ODI series will take place from Jan 6 to 19, while the T20 International series will commence from Jan 22 and will conclude on Jan 28,' a PCB press release said on Saturday.

'The team has been selected keeping in mind the conditions and the recent performances of some players in the domestic tournament. Azhar makes a comeback in the ODI squad after being rested in the series against Sri Lanka. He is making a comeback after gaining full fitness.

'Junaid has been ruled out of the ODI squad due to a fracture in his right foot and doctors have advised him for a six-week rest. Aamir Yamin comes in to replace the left-arm pacer in the squad. Imad again felt discomfort in his previously injured knee which ruled him out. Imad has been told to work on his fitness at the NCA,' added Inzamam.

The squad will leave for New Zealand on Tuesday from Lahore.

Meanwhile, talking to reporters here at the Gaddafi Stadium, Inzamam hoped that after a successful 2017 during which a number of talented young players of the country were tested at international level, Pakistan cricket would continue to flourish in the year 2018.

When asked if he had any plans to pick tainted fast bowler Mohammad Asif who has been in fine form during the last two domestic seasons and who could be useful for Pakistan in the lead-up to the 2019 World Cup -- Inzamam signalled he had no specific plan to recall the bowler for national duty.

'Everyone giving performance is in the radar and he [Asif] can be selected. [However] our new bowlers have also excelled and they are doing well,' Inzamam said without naming Asif, who played a key role for Wapda who featured in Quaid-i-Azam Trophy Championship finals in 2016-17 and 2017-18.

Physiotherapist for the national team will be hired locally from New Zealand.

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

Team officials: Talat Ali (manager), Mickey Arthur (head coach), Steve Rixon (fielding coach), Grant Luden (fitness coach), Azhar Mahmood (bowling coach), Grant Flower (batting coach), Talha Ijaz Butt (team analyst), Aun Zaidi (media manager), Col Azam Khan (security manager).

ODI series schedule:

Jan 6: First ODI (Basin Reserve, Wellington).

Jan 9: Second ODI (Saxton Oval, Nelson).

Jan 13: Third ODI (University Oval, Dunedin).

Jan 16: Fourth ODI (Seddon Park, Hamilton).

Jan 19: Fifth ODI (Basin Reserve, Wellington).
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Publication:Dawn (Karachi, Pakistan)
Geographic Code:9PAKI
Date:Dec 24, 2017
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