LAHORE: Mohammad Irfan is set to leave the Pakistan ODI squad in Australia and fly back home following the death of his mother, a PCB spokesman said Monday.
Irfan, 34, has not played for Pakistan since September last year, when he picked up cramps in both legs five overs into an ODI against England in Headingley. He worked on his fitness thereafter, but was not picked for the home series against West Indies in the UAE or the away tour of New Zealand.
Having bowled more than 150 overs in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy, Pakistan’s premier first-class tournament, and helping his side Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) to the title, Irfan won the approval of the selectors to play the five ODIs against Australia set to begin in Brisbane on Friday.
Chief selector Inzamamul Haq said the 14 players were chosen “keeping in mind the conditions in Australia” where his ability to generate extra bounce might have made him an asset.
Instead, left-arm fast bowler and WAPDA team-mate Junaid Khan replaces him and will make a comeback of his own after being sidelined from the ODI squad since May 2015.
Junaid had taken 78 wickets at 27.52 in 52 matches, and briefly spearheaded Pakistan’s ODI attack, before he was dropped. He took six wickets in seven games in the recently-concluded Departmental One-day Cup, before taking 4 for 31 for Peshawar in the Regional One-day Cup on Sunday. He joins Pakistan’s four other fast bowlers, Mohammad Amir, Wahab Riaz – both of whom buckled under heavy workloads in the 3-0 Test whitewash – Rahat Ali and Hasan Ali.
This is the second addition to the one-day squad after spinning all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez was added as the 16th member on Saturday. Junaid recently took 20 wickets in 14 matches in the Bangladesh Premier League, a Twenty20 competition.
The first of five one-day matches will be played in Brisbane on Friday followed by Melbourne (January 15), Perth (January 19), Sydney (January 22) and Adelaide (January 26).