Haj-bound Pakistan captain Azhar Ali keen to play Zimbabwe ODIs
Pakistan one-day captain Azhar Ali, wicketkeeper Sarfaraz Ahmed and batsman Asad Shafiq, who will be performing Haj this year, have decided to take part in the ODI series against Zimbabwe that is set to take place immediately after the annual Muslim pilgrimage.
Karachi: Pakistan one-day captain Azhar Ali, wicketkeeper Sarfaraz Ahmed and batsman Asad Shafiq, who will be performing Haj this year, have decided to take part in the ODI series against Zimbabwe that is set to take place immediately after the annual Muslim pilgrimage.
The national selection committee had plans to rest the three players for the 3 ODIs in Zimbabwe late September but now sources close to the selectors told PTI that Azhar, Sarfaraz and Asad are keen to play the matches.
Azhar, who took over as the ODI captain after this year's World Cup, is said to have told the selectors he would be available to lead the team in Zimbabwe.
"The situation now is that we will finalise the T20 and ODI squads for the tour of Zimbabwe this week but now it is the final decision of the board Chairman whether he approves the squads or not," chief selector Haroon Rasheed said.
He admitted that the selectors were contemplating giving more exposure to the new and younger players in Zimbabwe and felt the players going to perform Haj would face a hectic travelling schedule to reach Zimbabwe for the series so they could take a rest.
"The Chairman will decide now on this matter," he added.
Out of the three only Sarfaraz plays in the T20 format and the chief selector said he would not be available for the T20 matches in Zimbabwe.
Pakistan is due to play the limited over series in Zimbabwe from September 26 to first week of October.
In Pakistan cricket it is rare for established players to voluntarily take a rest from any series and according to former Test captain Rashid Latif this is because of the inconsistent selection policies and a general insecurity among players for their places in the national teams.
"There is a culture of insecurity among players so no one wants to leave his place for any reason," he added.
One source said that the selectors had been planning to have a stand-in captain for the ODI series in Zimbabwe but now they had been forced to change their plans owing to the stance taken by Azhar Ali and the two other players.
Sarfaraz is the vice-captain in the T20 and ODI squads.