Pakistan leave out Mohammad Hafeez, Imad Wasim for Asia Cup

Senior batsman Mohammad Hafeez and allrounder Imad Wasim have been left out of Pakistan’s 16-man squad for the upcoming Asia Cup, to be held in UAE from September 15. The duo was part of the 18-man training camp held earlier at the Gaddafi stadium in Lahore.

Squad: Fakhar Zaman, Imam Ul Haq, Shan Masood, Babar Azam, Shoaib Malik, Sarfraz Ahmed (c), Asif Ali, Haris Sohail, Shadab Khan, Muhammad Nawaz, Fahim Ashraf, Hasan Ali, Mohammad Amir, Junaid Khan, Usman Shinwari, Shaheen Afridi

Hafeez, who turns 38 next month, has 200 ODIs to his name, but didn’t feature in a single game on the ODI tour of Zimbabwe. Openers Fakhar Zaman and Imam Ul Haq made the most of that series, with Zaman even notching up his first ODI double century. As back-up, Pakistan have gone for opener Shan Masood, who has played 12 Tests for Pakistan since making his debut in 2013, but hasn’t featured in limited-overs yet. His last Test appearance too came in October 2017.

No. 3 batter Babar Azam too finished that tour with a 76-ball 106, leaving Hafeez very little room to fit in at the top of the order. The veteran has also batted at No.4 and 5 in the past, but those spots currently belong to his fellow senior Shoaib Malik and Asif Ali, who debuted in the series on the back of an exceptional showing in PSL 2018.

Adding further competition to the No.4 position, Pakistan have also brought back Haris Sohail, who left the tour of Zimbabwe midway due to an illness to his daughter.

Imad’s position is very similar too. Faheem Ashraf, another product of the PSL, has impressed as a seam-bowling allrounder in the ODI setup, while the Pakistan think tank also have Muhammad Nawaz to turn to – instead of Wasim – while looking for some left-arm spin.

The bowling department is perhaps Pakistan’s most settled department, with Shadab Khan, Hasan Ali, Mohammad Amir and Junaid Khan being straightforward picks. Usman Khan Shinwari, the 24-year-old left-arm pacer showed he was worth his salt and shrugged off his injury concerns with nine wickets in four ODIs in Zimbabwe and earned his spot, while fellow left-armer Shaheen Afridi too finds a place on the basis of immense potential and domestic success.

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