Pakistan's Hafeez recalled for ODI series against Australia

Mohammad Hafeez was included in the Pakistan squad for its One-Day International series against Australia, the first time the off-spinner found a place in the national squad since being cleared by the International Cricket Council to bowl.

Mohammad Hafeez's bowling action was adjudged to be legal by the International Cricket Council in November, 2016.   -  AP

Pakistan has called up experienced all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez for the five-match One-Day International (ODI) series in Australia. It is Hafeez’s first selection in the national team since he cleared the International Cricket Council's bowling assessment test in Brisbane in November, 2016. He has already returned to bowling his off-breaks in domestic cricket.

On the eve of his departure for Australia, Hafeez said he was looking forward to the challenge of doing well in the ODI series and helping Pakistan record some wins. “It is a big challenge for me as I only resumed bowling one month back in domestic cricket and it has been nearly one and half years since I have bowled in international cricket,” he told PTI.

“I consider myself as a batsman who can bowl but I know that if I am selected for any match the team will also be depending on my bowling but I can deal with the pressure,” he added.

Hafeez, who has taken a total of 227 wickets in all three formats for Pakistan besides his nine Test and 11 ODI hundreds, has been out of favour with the national selectors after his last appearance in the first ODI against England in August last year. The ICC had slapped a 12-month bowling ban on the all-rounder in June last year and after his bowling action was reported to be illegal during a Test series in Sri Lanka.

An official of the Pakistan Cricket Board said the team management in Australia had asked for the late inclusion of Hafeez and the national selectors had accepted their request. The first ODI is due to be played on January 13. Pakistan was > whitewashed in the Test series.