Pakistan vs Sri Lanka: PCB rest Azhar Ali for ODI series; uncapped Imam-ul-Haq earns call-up

By AFP

Lahore: Pakistan rested Azhar Ali for the five-match one-day series against Sri Lanka starting in Dubai next week to give the opener time to recover from a knee problem, selectors said on Friday.

The 32-year-old is featuring in the second and final Test in Dubai on Friday only after having injections to relieve the pain.

Pakistan have made only one change from the side which won the Champions Trophy in England in June this year, bringing in uncapped 21-year-old opener Imam-ul-Haq in Ali's place.

File image of Pakistan opener Azhar Ali. AP

Imam is the nephew of former Pakistan captain Inzamam, who now heads the selection committee.

"Imam has been selected in the squad keeping his performance in the domestic circuit in view and to give a chance to a youngster in the home conditions," said a Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) release.

Imam had featured in the 2014 junior World Cup held in United Arab Emirates.

Sarfraz Ahmed will lead the side.

The first of five one-day internationals starts in Dubai on 13 October, followed by matches in Abu Dhabi (16 and 18 October) and Sharjah (20 and 23 October).

Pakistan and Sri Lanka will also play three Twenty20 internationals, two in Abu Dhabi (26 and 27 October) while the last one is set to be held in Lahore on 29 October, subject to security clearance.

The return of Sri Lanka is of huge importance to cricket-mad Pakistan. A deadly militant attack on the Sri Lankan team in Lahore in 2009 was responsible for finally driving out cricket and other international sports from the country after years of security fears.

Squad: Sarfraz Ahmed, Ahmed Shehzad, Fakhar Zaman, Mohammad Hafeez, Babar Azam, Shoaib Malik, Imad Wasim, Shadab Khan, Faheem Ashraf, Hasan Ali, Mohammad Amir, Rumman Raees, Junaid Khan, Haris Sohail, Imam-ul-Haq