Pakistan was forced to make a last-minute change in their ODI squad for the upcoming South Africa tour, as they announced Asif Ali as a replacement for the injured Saud Shakeel for the three-match ODI series starting April 2 at the SuperSport Park Cricket Stadium in Centurion.
Ali, the lower-order batsman, is all set to make an ODI comeback for Pakistan in the upcoming three-match series in South Africa having last played an ODI for Pakistan in June 2019 in England.
He was already slated to travel to South Africa with the Pakistan side on Friday (March 26), but only as part of the T20I leg – 4 and 3 T20Is against Proteas and Zimbabwe respectively, but now a leg injury to the uncapped all-rounder Shakeel has opened the door for him to impress in the 50-over format as well.
Shakeel was handed a maiden call-up to the Pakistan side – named in the ODI squad for the three-match ODI series against South Africa, as well as in the Test squad for the two-match Test series against Zimbabwe.
On Friday, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) announced that Shakeel suffered a “Grade-1 quadriceps tear in his left leg during Wednesday's 50-over-a-side practice match in Lahore” and now he would have to be excluded and stay back at the National High-Performance Centre to continue his rehabilitation.
PCB said in a statement: “Uncapped middle-order batsman Saud Shakeel has been withdrawn from Pakistan's ODI squad against South Africa after suffering a Grade-1 quadriceps tear in his left leg during Wednesday's 50-over-a-side practice match in Lahore.”
The statement concluded, “The selection committee, in consultation with the team management, has replaced Saud with Asif Ali, who is already part of the T20I squad for the series in South Africa and Zimbabwe.”
However, the PCB didn’t comment on the possibility of whether the all-rounder might travel separately to Zimbabwe if he recovers in time for the Test series against Zimbabwe, as they didn’t name a replacement for the 25-year old for that part of the tour.
Well, the 34-member Pakistan squad, including 13 officials and 21 players, has departed for Johannesburg on a chartered flight on Friday for the three ODIs and four T20Is against South Africa. They will then fly to Bulawayo on April 17 for three T20Is and two Tests against Zimbabwe.
Pakistan’s ODI squad:
Babar Azam (capt), Imam-ul-Haq, Fakhar Zaman, Abdullah Shafique, Haider Ali, Danish Aziz, Asif Ali, Faheem Ashraf, Mohammad Wasim Jr, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Sarfaraz Ahmed (wk), Shaheen Shah Afridi, Haris Rauf, Mohammad Hasnain, Usman Qadir, Hasan Ali.
(With ANI Inputs)