Azhar Ali wins a place in Pakistan's ODI squad after Test success

The top-order batsman was instrumental in the hosts' 3-0 Test series victory in the UAE, as selectors pick a young squad. Audio: Sports round-up, Feb 7

Pakistan batsman Azhar Ali scored a career-best 157 against England in the Dubai Test.
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DUBAI // Azhar Ali has been rewarded for his brilliant batting in the Test series sweep against England with a place in the middle order of Pakistan's the one-day international (ODI) squad.

Azhar has played just one ODI – against Ireland last year – but earned the selectors' attention after scoring a career-best 157 in Pakistan's 71-run third-Test win in Dubai on Monday.

Shahid Afridi's return to the one-day team could compound England's problem dealing with spin bowlers after Saeed Ajmal and Abdur Rehman took 43 wickets in the Test series.

The one-day squad also includes Hammad Azam, the 20-year-old all-rounder, who has played five ODIs but has not figured since playing against Ireland at Belfast last year.

Awais Zia, an uncapped, hard-hitting batsman, also made his way into the Twenty20 squad after impressing selectors in domestic tournaments.

Zia, 25, has scored 455 runs in 18 domestic Twenty20 matches with a strike rate of 146.30.

A notable omission from the squad was that of Shoaib Malik, the all-rounder and former captain.

Malik's struggles on the tours of Sri Lanka and Bangladesh led to his axing from the Test squad and selectors ignored him once again, retaining the bulk of the successful Test team for the one-day series.

"We have selected a team that is a blend of experienced and young players. We have also called up some specialist one-day and Twenty20 players like Awais Zia and Hammad," chief selector Mohammad Illyas told Reuters.

"The team has won the Test series comprehensively. But England are a top side and there is more hard work to be done in the one-day series."

Pakistan will play Afghanistan in a one-day international on Friday before the four-match ODI series against England begins in Abu Dhabi on Monday.

The one-day series will be followed by three Twenty20 games.

ODI squad Misbah-ul-Haq (captain), Younis Khan, Shahid Afridi, Mohammad Hafeez, Imran Farhat, Azhar Ali, Umar Akmal, Asad Shafiq, Adnan Akmal, Umar Gul, Junaid Khan, Aizaz Cheema, Saeed Ajmal, Abdur Rehman, Wahab Riaz, Hammad Azam.

Twenty20 squad Misbah-ul-Haq (captain), Shahid Afridi, Mohammad Hafeez, Imran Farhat, Umar Akmal, Asad Shafique, Adnan Akmal, Awais Zia, Umar Gul, Saeed Ajmal, Abdur Rehman, Wahab Riaz, Aizaz Cheema, Junaid Khan, Hammad Azam.

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