With the 2019 World Cup less than three months away, Pakistan have decided to rest their key players for the five-match ODI series against Australia in UAE.
Skipper Sarfraz Ahmed is among six players who have not been included in the side that will be led by Shoaib Malik, the Pakistan Cricket Board announced on Friday (March 8).
Babar Azam, Fakhar Zaman, Hasan Ali, Shadab Khan and Shaheen Shah Afridi have all been rested while Haris Sohail, Junaid Khan, Umar Akmal and Yasir Shah have been included in the squad.
Along with them, four new faces - Abid Ali, Mohammad Abbas, Mohammad Hasnain and Saad Al - have also been drafted in. The experienced Mohammad Hafeez does not feature as he is still recovering from a thumb injury and Hussain Talat has been dropped.
"I am pleased that we have been able to develop a strong bench-strength that has helped us to make eight changes from the previous series," said Pakistan chairman of selectors Inzamam-ul-Haq.
"This is a good sign for Pakistan cricket as we now have a big pool of players who have the capability, talent and potential, and are raring to step up and seize the opportunity when thrown at the deep end.
"The changes have been made taking into consideration the player workload in the build up to the World Cup, which starts May 30. Apart from five ODIs against Australia, we have three warm-up games followed by five ODIs against England, and then two World Cup warm-up matches followed by, at least, nine games. This is too much cricket in a short period of time. Had there been no pre-World Cup matches in England, then we would not have made these many changes."
The first ODI against Australia is scheduled to be played on March 22 in Sharjah.
Squad: Shoaib Malik (capt), 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