Mohammad Hafeez has received a late call-up to Pakistan’s ODI squad to play Australia, hours after the Test team slipped to a 3-0 whitewash. Hafeez, the veteran allrounder, will head to Australia as the 16th member of the squad originally selected last week after a request from Pakistan’s team management and the captain, Azhar Ali.
Hafeez had been overlooked due to his mediocre domestic form – with 248 runs at 31.00 in the departmental one-day cup he was 19th on the list. He was, however, recently passed to resume bowling, picking up 11 wickets in the competition. After being asked for a top-order batsman who can bowl offspin, Inzamam-ul-Haq’s selection committee agreed to send for Hafeez.
A PCB release said: “The selection committee headed by Inzamam-ul-Haq today received a request from Pakistan team management comprising coach Mickey Arthur and captain Azhar Ali for sending Mohammad Hafeez to Australia for the ODI series. The selection committee has decided to accept the request of the team management and chairman of the PCB has approved the same. Hafeez will join the team shortly as the 16th member in Australia.”
Hafeez had been out of international contention since being dropped during the tour of England last year, with fitness issues compounding a run of poor form. He did not feature at all against West Indies in the UAE or on Pakistan’s tour of New Zealand.
His return to bowling, which had been an integral part of Pakistan’s limited-overs game, after being banned for an illegal action was the main reason for his recall, with Hafeez preferred over in-form opening batsmen Kamran Akmal and Ahmed Shehzad.
Akmal, who relinquished his role as a wicketkeeper, had come close to a recall due to his prolific domestic form. He was the only player to pass 1000 runs in this season’s Quaid-e-Azam Trophy and was in serious contention for selection, but a reported disagreement between the team management and selectors saw him miss the cut. He also scored 361 runs at 45.12 in the departmental one-day cup, while Shehzad led the way with 653 runs at 93.28.