Karachi, May 19: Experienced Pakistan players Shoaib Malik and Muhammad Sami today received surprise call-ups to the national side for the two T20 matches against the touring Zimbabwe team after spending close to three years in the wilderness.
Fast bowler Sami returned to the 15-member squad after nearly two-and-a-half years while Malik last played for Pakistan in April 2014. Chief selector Haroon Rasheed said both the experienced players were recalled on the back of their excellent performances in the national super eights T20 tournament that concluded yesterday in Faisalabad.
For Sami, 34, it was a big comeback after June 2012 and also influenced due to the long list of injured pacers including Muhammad Irfan, Rahat Ali, Ehsan Adil and Sohail Khan. Malik led a new look Sialkot Stallions to victory in the super eights event.
The selectors also recalled exciting middle-order batsman Umar Akmal who was overlooked for the recent tour of Bangladesh on disciplinary grounds after a report from head coach Waqar Younis.
All-rounder Hammad Azam also won a recall. The selectors also included two uncapped players - Imad Wasim and Nauman Anwar - after their impressive performance in the recent domestic matches.
The selectors have however dropped veteran off-spinner Saeed Ajmal, left-arm pacer Sohail Tanvir and Haris Sohail from the T20 squad that played in Bangladesh. Pakistan play Zimbabwe in two T20 matches on Friday and Sunday in Lahore with Shahid Afridi returning from England to lead the side.
The Pakistan squad: Ahmed Shehzad, Mohammad Hafeez, Umar Akmal, Shahid Afridi (captain), Shoaib Malik, Sarfraz Ahmed, Hammad Azam, Wahab Riaz, Bilawal Bhatti, Nauman Anwar, Anwar Ali, Mohammad Rizwan, Imad Wasim, Mukhtar Ahmed and Mohammad Sami.