Lahore, May 23 (IANS): Leg-spinner Shadab Khan, who missed Pakistan's ODI series against Australia due to groin injury, and left-arm spin all-rounder Mohammad Nawaz, who spent time on the sidelines due to a foot injury, returned to the national side for their upcoming home series against the West Indies, said the country's selection committee in an official release on Monday.
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) also said that the three-match ODI series, scheduled for June 8, 10 and 12 at the Pindi Cricket Stadium, will not be played in a Managed Event Environment (bio-bubbles).
As a result, the squad has been reduced from 21 (against Australia) to 16, with Asif Afridi, Asif Ali, Haider Ali and Usman Qadir being the omissions while Saud Shakeel was not considered as he is scheduled to undergo a surgery for sinusitis.
"Players such as Mohammad Nawaz and Shadab Khan are now fully fit, which has allowed us to leave out Asif Afridi and Usman Qadir. However, Usman along with Asif Ali and Haider Ali remain in our plans for the shortest format as we have a series of T20I lined up this year, including the ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2022," said chief selector Mohammad Wasim.
"Also, and taking into consideration that there will be no Managed Event Environment and the players can be called at a short notice, we have reduced the squad size to 16 players. For the Australia ODIs, we had also announced backup players as cover to those players who were carrying injuries," added Wasim.
Khan, who also returns to be Babar Azam's deputy, is currently featuring in the County Championship in England alongside Haris Rauf, Hasan Ali and Mohammad Rizwan and is set to join the squad in time for the practice sessions with a training camp scheduled in Rawalpindi from June 1 in the run-up to the ODI series.
"As the ODIs against the West Indies are part of the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2023 qualification, we have decided to give best chance to our side to collect maximum points and strengthen our chances of progressing directly for the pinnacle 50-over tournament. We have retained the same core of players so they further establish themselves in the format. I hope this bunch will continue the form they gained from the Australia series," stated Wasim.
The squad comprises three openers, three middle-order batters, two wicketkeeper/batters, three spinners and five fast bowlers.
Squad: Babar Azam (captain), Shadab Khan (vice-captain), Abdullah Shafique, Fakhar Zaman, Haris Rauf, Hasan Ali, Iftikhar Ahmed, Imam-ul-Haq, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Haris (wicketkeeper/batter), Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan (wicketkeeper/batter), Mohammad Wasim Junior, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Shahnawaz Dahani and Zahid Mahmood.