LAHORE: Pakistan cricket selectors, headed by former skipper Inzamamul Haq, on Wednesday dropped opener Shan Masood and recalled all-rounder Faheem Ashraf to an 18-member national squad named for a three-match series against Afghanistan and the subsequent Asia Cup. Babar Azam will lead the squad throughout. The 29-year-old Faheem played the last of his 31 one-day internationals in England in July 2021 but chief selector Inzamam said his efforts warranted selection. “We have picked 18 players for the Afghanistan series and one less for the Asia Cup and Faheem was the best pace-bowling allrounder available to us,” Inzamam told media yesterday. The ODI series against Afghanistan will be played on August 22, 24 and 26 in Sri Lanka, while the Asia Cup is scheduled from August 30 to September 17. Pakistan will host only four matches in the Asia Cup after India refused to send its team across the border, with the remaining nine in Sri Lanka. Middle-order batsman Saud Shakeel is recalled after a year-long gap but will only be part of the Afghanistan series. Pacer Ihsanullah is not selected due to injury. Tayyab Tahir is included in the squad for the Afghanistan series. This is Tayyab’s second call-up in the ODI side. His maiden call-up came ahead of the three ODIs against New Zealand in January following a stellar show in the Pakistan Cup 2022-23 that saw him finish as the leading run-getter in the event. The right-handed middle-order batsman recently struck a scintillating century to orchestrate Pakistan Shaheens’ thumping 128-run win over India A in the ACC Men’s Emerging Cup final. Saud, who does not feature in the Asia Cup squad, has played five ODIs and his last was in March 2022 when Pakistan chased down 348 against Australia with six wickets in hand in Lahore. To a question, Inzamam said Shan had performed very well on the whole across formats. “Unfortunately, his performances in ODIs have gone down. We have a list of 20-21 players, and Shan is part of that. But Saud and a couple of other players were impressive recently, so we had to leave out Shan. But he is a part of our plans.” Shan has played just nine ODIs in his career, four of them this year, in which he has totalled 52 runs with a best of 44. Inzamam said he hoped players would get a proper tune-up for the World Cup in India from October 5 to November 19. “We have selected players with the focus also on the World Cup and hope that the team brings laurels to the country,” he said. The squad have been finalised following consultations between the national men’s selection committee – which also includes Mickey Arthur (team director), Grant Bradburn (head coach) and Hassan Cheema (secretary) – and Pakistan captain Babar. Player participating in Lankan Premier League and The Hundred will join the squad directly in Sri Lanka on August 18. The players in Pakistan will hold a three-day camp on August 14, 15 and 16 at the National Cricket Academy in Lahore. Pakistan squad: Openers: Abdullah Shafique, Fakhar Zaman and Imam-ul-Haq. Middle order: Babar Azam (captain), Salman Ali Agha, Iftikhar Ahmed, Tayyab Tahir and Saud Shakeel (only for Afghanistan series). Wicketkeepers: Mohammad Rizwan and Mohammad Haris. Spinners: Shadab Khan (vice-captain), Mohammad Nawaz and Usama Mir. Pace all-rounder: Faheem Ashraf. Pacers: Haris Rauf, Mohammad Wasim Jnr, Naseem Shah and Shaheen Afridi.