Karachi: Pakistan selectors sprung a surprise Friday by resting regular skipper Sarfraz Ahmed and five key players for the five-match one-day series against Australia in March.
While chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq stressed that resting Sarfraz was a unanimous decision, media reports blasted the move, suggesting Sarfraz did not want to miss all five matches.
Apart from Sarfraz, opener Fakhar Zaman, batsman Babar Azam, spinner Shadab Khan and fast bowlers Hasan Ali and Shaheen Shah Afridi will also be rested.
Inzamam said the decision was aimed at freshening up the squad for the 2019 World Cup, starting in England in May.
Shoaib Malik will lead the side for the matches to be played in Sharjah on 22 and 24 March, Abu Dhabi on 27 March, and Dubai on 29 and 31 March.
Another batsman, Mohammad Hafeez, was not considered as he is recovering from thumb surgery.
Pakistan ODI squad:
Shoaib Malik (c), Abid Ali, Faheem Ashraf, Haris Sohail, Imad Wasim, Imam-ul-Haq, Junaid Khan, Mohammad Abbas, Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Saad Ali, Shan Masood, Umar Akmal, Usman Shinwari, Yasir Shah