Qantas Tour of the UAE
Pakistan ring changes for Aussie ODIs
Pakistan make wholesale changes to their ODI squad to meet Australia in a five-match series later this month
Sam Ferris in Ranchi
8 March 2019, 10:25 PM AEST
Australia will take on a depleted Pakistan outfit that has rested six players in the upcoming ODI series in the UAE.
Pakistan will face Australia in five one-day internationals from March 22 without six first-choice players: captain Sarfaraz Ahmed, Babar Azam, Fakhar Zaman, Hasan Ali, Shadab Khan and Shaheen Shah Afridi.
Pakistan made eight changes in total to the squad that lost 3-2 to South Africa this summer, with allrounder Hussain Talat dropped and veteran Mohammad Hafeez was not considered as he recovers from thumb surgery.
The 16-player group will be captained by 37-year-old Shoaib Malik who leads a squad with eight new faces - Abid Ali, Haris Sohail, Junaid Khan, Mohammad Abbas, Mohammad Hasnain, Saad Ali, Umar Akmal and Yasir Shah – including four uncapped players in Abid, Abbas, Hasnain and Saad.
Australia also named their squad for the series, a full-strength group that remains unchanged from the original 15-players that were picked for the Qantas Tour of India.
Paceman Mitch Starc (pec) and batsmen Steve Smith (elbow) and David Warner (elbow) were not considered for selection as they manage respective injuries.
Smith and Warner are eligible for selection for the final two ODIs in Dubai, but the National Selection Panel has decided their best path back to the national team is through the Indian Premier League.
The five-match series represents the final official one-day internationals for Australia before the World Cup squad is picked before the April 23 cut-off date.
The Aussies will have a training camp at the start of May in Brisbane, where they will play a New Zealand team in three 50-over matches, along with the two World Cup warm-up games against England and Sri Lanka in Southampton.
Pakistan have the luxury of three warm-up games then a five-match series against England in England following the series against Australia, along with the two mandatory World Cup warm-ups.
Pakistan chairman of selectors Inzamam-ul-Haq said his country has "too much cricket" between now and the World Cup and had there been no warm-up games before the England series, Pakistan would have fielded a stronger side.
"I am pleased that we have been able to develop a strong bench-strength that has helped us to make eight changes from the previous series," Inzamam said.
"This is a good sign for Pakistan cricket as we now have a big pool of players who have the capability, talent and potential, and are raring to step up and seize the opportunity when thrown at the deep end.
"While Haris Sohail, Junaid Khan, Umar Akmal and Yasir Shah are returning to ODI cricket, Abid Ali, Mohammad Abbas, Mohammad Hasnain and Saad Ali have been rewarded for stellar performances in domestic cricket.
"The series against the world champions will not be an easy one and these players, in fact, will be tested to their limits. This will provide these players a great opportunity to display their skills and temperament, strengthening their claims for a World Cup call-up as there are a few places up for grabs."
Pakistan 16-player squad to face Australia: Shoaib Malik (captain), Abid Ali, Faheem Ashraf, Haris Sohail, Imad Wasim, Imam-ul-Haq, Junaid Khan, Mohammad Abbas, Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Rizwan (wicketkeeper), Saad Ali, Shan Masood, Umar Akmal, Usman Shinwari, Yasir Shah
Qantas Tour of India
First T20: Australia won by three wickets
Second T20: Australia won by seven wickets
First ODI: India won by six wickets
Second ODI: India won by eight runs
Third ODI: March 8, Ranchi
Fourth ODI: March 10, Mohali
Fifth ODI: March 13, Delhi