New faces called up for Pakistan

There are several new faces in Pakistan’s 15-man squad to face Zimbabwe in the first two of five one-day internationals.

The squad contains three uncapped players – opener Nasir Jamshed, and seam bowlers Samiullah Khan Niazi and Kamran Hussain. Fawad Alam and Safraz Ahmed have played three one-day internationals combined.

Jamshed, 18, played for Pakistan Under-19 in their triumphant 2006 World Cup campaign, but more recently flayed the Zimbabweans for 182 in a four-day fixture in Karachi. And in the most recent domestic season, he finished third highest runscorer.

Samiullah Khan, 25, also featured prominently in the fixture against the Zimbabweans. His second innings 5-wicket haul was influential in an innings victory for the Patrons XI. Last season he took 52 wickets – the second highest total – and looks likely to get his first taste of ODI cricket.

Like Samiullah, Hussain is a left-arm seam bowler. A veteran at domestic level, he shone with bat and ball last season, taking 35 wickets and averaging over 35 with the bat.

Shoaib Malik has been named as captain despite still recovering from an ankle injury. The series will be a testing ground for Pakistan in the search for viable seam bowling options and an effective opening pairing. Perhaps the most notable inclusion, however, is that of wicketkeeper Sarfraz Ahmed, whose presence indicates the pressure on the struggling Kamran Akmal.

The series starts in Karachi on January 21.

Pakistan squad
Shoaib Malik (capt), Mohammad Yousuf, Younis Khan, Misbah-ul-Haq, Salman Butt, Shahid Afridi, Rao Iftikhar Anjum, Nasir Jamshed, Sohail Tanvir, Samiullah Khan Niazi, Kamran Akmal (wk), Sarfraz Ahmed (wk), Kamran Hussain, Yasir Arafat, Fawad Alam.

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