Shadab back, Shafique and Zahid called up for Pakistan’s ODIs against West Indies

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Shadab Khan has returned to the Pakistan ODI squad, and taken back the vice-captaincy, after recovering from injury, while there are call-ups for top-order batter Abdullah Shafique and legspinner Zahid Mahmood for the three-match series at home against West Indies, to be played in June.

Asif Afridi, Asif Ali, Haider Ali, Saud Shakeel and Usman Qadir, who were all part of the 21-man squad for Pakistan’s previous engagement, against Australia at home in March-April this year, have been excluded from the trimmer 16-man line-up.

Most members of the squad and coaching staff will assemble in Rawalpindi on June 1 for a training camp, with Haris Rauf, Hasan Ali, Mohammad Rizwan and Shadab, who are presently playing in England, joining them sometime in the first week of June.

The games are slotted for Rawalpindi, but the PCB has kept Multan as a back-up as Islamabad – the country’s capital, adjacent to Rawalpindi – is likely to be the centre for deposed prime minister Imran Khan’s political rally starting May 25. The series is set to start on June 8, and features three ODIs, which are part of the World Cup Super League.

“As the ODIs against the West Indies are part of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 qualification, we have decided to give best chance to our side to collect maximum points and strengthen our chances of progressing directly for the pinnacle 50-over tournament,” chief selector Mohammad Wasim said in a statement. “We have retained the same core of players [as in the series against Australia] so they further establish themselves in the format.

I hope this bunch will continue the form they gained from the Australia series.” Pakistan won that three-ODI series 2-1 before losing the one-off T20I.