Lanky paceman Muhammad Irfan was recalled on Friday to Pakistan’s 16-man squad for the five-match one-day series against Sri Lanka starting later this month.
The 33-year-old, the tallest international cricketer ever at seven feet one inch, injured his hip at the World Cup in March, forcing him to miss Pakistan’s crucial quarter-final against eventual champions and co-hosts Australia.
But Irfan’s return still does not guarantee a full-strength Pakistan pace attack, as partner Wahab Riaz missed out with a bowling hand injury sustained during the second Test against Sri Lanka in Colombo.
Also ruled out of the series was left-hander Haris Sohail, who injured his knee on the tour of Sri Lanka — missing all three Tests.
After completing treatment Irfan is champing at the bit, said chief selector Haroon Rasheed. “Irfan has completed his rehab and is raring to go,” said Rasheed. “Unfortunately Wahab, Sohail and Sohaib Maqsood were not available due to injuries.”
However, Wahab will continue to be monitored by a medical panel to see if he could be available for the last two matches, added Rasheed.
Newcomers Mukhtar Ahmed and Bilal Asif were included in the one-day team for the first time. “Mukhtar has shown tremendous improvement while Asif is a powerful hitter and a handy off-spinner,” added Rasheed.
Mukhtar, 22, has played three T20Is this year while Asif, 29, scored a hundred in the final of a non-first class domestic tournament in April.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 4th, 2015.
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