Lahore: The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on Friday named uncapped batsman Imam-ul-Haq as the lone fresh face in the 15-member Pakistan squad, while dropping former skipper Azhar Ali for the five-match One-day International (ODI) series against Sri Lanka, starting in Dubai from October 13.
The 21-year-old Imam, who is the nephew of former captain and current chairman of selectors Inzamam-ul-Haq, has been on the selectors' radar for the past couple of years.
Imam scored 848 runs at an average of 49.88 last season, with three hundreds including a double-century for Habib Bank Limited.
He was subsequently drafted into the Pakistan squad earlier this year for the ACC Emerging Team Cup, where he scored two hundred in three matches. He has played 13 List A games this year, averaging 31.84 with three half-centuries.
"Imam-ul-Haq has been selected in the squad, keeping his performance in the domestic circuit, and to give a chance to a youngster in home conditions," Inzamam said while announcing the squad.
Pakistan ODI squad: Ahmed Shehzad, Fakhar Zaman, Mohammad Hafeez, Babar Azam, Shoaib Malik, Sarfraz Ahmed (Captain, WK), Imad Wasim, Shahdab Khan, Faheem Ashraf, Hasan Ali, Mohammed Amir, Ruman Raees, Junaid Khan, Haris Sohail, Imam-ul-Haq.
The first of five one-day internationals starts in Dubai on October 13, followed by matches in Abu Dhabi (October 16 and 18) and Sharjah (October 20 and 23).
Pakistan and Sri Lanka will also play three Twenty20 internationals, two in Abu Dhabi (October 26 and 27) while the last one is set to be held in Lahore on October 29, subject to security clearance.
The return of Sri Lanka is of huge importance to cricket-mad Pakistan. A deadly militant attack on the Sri Lankan team in Lahore in 2009 was responsible for finally driving out cricket and other international sports from the country after years of security fears.