Shoaib Malik to lead Pakistan against Australia, Sarfaraz rested

The Pakistan cricket selectors have named a 16-member squad for the five-match ODI series against world champions Australia. The series will start in Sharjah on 22 March and culminate in Dubai on 31 March.

The selectors have rested six players from the squad that lost 2-3 to South Africa earlier this year. They are Captain Sarfaraz Ahmed, Babar Azam, Fakhar Zaman, Hasan Ali, Shadab Khan, and Shaheen Shah Afridi, while Hussain Talat has been dropped and Mohammad Hafeez was not considered as he is recovering from thumb surgery.

Shoaib Malik has been appointed the captain in Sarfaraz’s absence. The 37-year-old has played 279 ODIs, including 38 as captain, winning 25 and losing 13. Shoaib has scored 7,379 runs with nine centuries and taken 156 wickets.

The eight players have been replaced by cricketers who have either demonstrated in the domestic circuit that they have the ability and are ready to compete at the top level or have reclaimed fitness or form. These include Abid Ali, Haris Sohail, Junaid Khan, Mohammad Abbas, Mohammad Hasnain, Saad Ali, Umar Akmal, and Yasir Shah.

Of these eight players, there are four uncapped players in Abid Ali, Mohammad Abbas, Mohammad Hasnain, and Saad Ali.

The squad includes three openers (Abid Ali, Imam-ul-Haq, Shan Masood), four middle-order batsmen (Haris Sohail, Saad Ali, Shoaib Malik, Umar Akmal), wicketkeeper Mohammad Rizwan, wrist spinner Yasir Shah, two all-rounders (Faheem Ashraf and Imad Wasim), and five fast bowlers (Junaid Khan, Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Abbas, Mohammad Hasnain and Usman Shinwari).

The Pakistan cricket team will depart for the UAE on 18 March. The schedule of the series is as follows:

22 March – 1st ODI, Sharjah (d/n)

24 March – 2nd ODI, Sharjah (d/n)

27 March – 3rd ODI, Abu Dhabi (d/n)

29 March – 4th ODI, Dubai (d/n)

31 March – 5th ODI, Dubai (d/n)

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