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Imam replaces Azhar as PCB names squad for Lanka ODIs

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) selection committee Friday announced 15-member squad for the five-match One-Day International (ODI) series against Sri Lanka to be played from October 13 to 23 in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

LAHORE: The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) selection committee Friday announced 15-member squad for the five-match One-Day International (ODI) series against Sri Lanka to be played from October 13 to 23 in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The final squad was announced by the cricket board after consultation with head coach Mickey Arthur and captain Sarfraz Ahmed. “The Champions Trophy team has been retained except Azhar Ali, who has been rested for the ODI series to gain full fitness,” said chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq.

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Imam’s selection has evoked criticism in the media and cricket circles in Pakistan as the selection committee has preferred this 21-year-old batsman over Sami Aslam, who scored two centuries in the 50-over Pakistan Cup and boasts of a better domestic record. He has also scored eight centuries in list A games and his 2,522 runs in 43 games have come at a strike-rate of 87.29 and an average of 48.50 while Imam has scored 848 runs at 49.88 last season, with three hundreds including a double-century for Habib Bank Limited (HBL). He has played 13 list A games this year, averaging 31.84 with three half-centuries.

“Imam-ul-Haq has been selected in the squad keeping his performance in the domestic circuit and to give a chance to a youngster in the home conditions,” chief selector Inzamam said about his nephew.

The selection committee also left out their former ODI captain Azhar Ali citing that he needs to manage his workload. It understood that he is yet to fully recover from a knee injury and has been taking injection to be free of pain during this Test series.

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The first one-day international will be played on October 13 at Dubai International Cricket Stadium while the fifth and last match of the series will be played on October 23 at Sharjah Cricket Stadium.

ODI SQUAD: Ahmed Shehzad, Fakhar Zaman, M Hafeez, Babar Azam, Shoaib Malik, Sarfraz Ahmed (capt), Imad Wasim, Shahdab Khan, Faheem Ashraf, Hasan Ali, M Amir, Ruman Raees, Junaid Khan, Haris Sohail, Imam-ul-Haq.

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