Pakistan cricket selectors, headed by former Test captain Inzamamul Haq, on Wednesday recalled fast bowler Mohammad Amir and wicketkeeper-batsman Mohammad Rizwan to a 16-man squad named for a five-match series against South Africa starting later this month. Batsman Shan Masood and all-rounder Hussain Talat earned maiden calls for the ODI series while fast bowler Junaid Khan was the main casualty. “Junaid has not been considered for this tour because we feel he has to work more on his bowling since the fitness issues that had cut short his series against New Zealand,” chief selector Inzamam explained. All-rounder Asif Ali was also axed, with Inzamam saying: “Asif has been dropped due to inconsistent and below-par performances. In his place, we have decided to give Hussain Talat an opportunity to show his mettle and skills. He is a good left-handed batsman, who can also bowl.” Amir, the 26-year-old fast bowler, failed to get a wicket in his last five one-day internationals, including three Asia Cup matches in September last year. He was left out of Pakistan’s last series against New Zealand, but was redrafted for the one-day side on the back of good form in the ongoing Test series in South Africa. “Amir’s strong performance in the Test series made him an automatic selection,” added Inzamam. Talat has been rewarded for his good performances for the Pakistan emerging team in the 50-over tournament and the National T20 Cup. He had struck a match-winning 116 off 109 balls against UAE in Karachi in December last year. He followed it with 149 runs and six wickets in four matches in the domestic T20 tournament. Talat has been earmarked as an exciting talent from the 2017 PSL, when he cracked a 39-ball 56 for Islamabad United. Rizwan, who had last played an ODI in January 2017, was also rewarded for fine run with the emerging team as well as the A team. He is the second wicketkeeper in the squad, behind captain Sarfraz Ahmed. The selectors have made five changes from the Test side, who are presently in Johannesburg preparing for the third and final Test starting from Friday (tomorrow). Asad Shafiq, Azhar Ali, Haris Sohail, Mohammad Abbas and Yasir Shah have been replaced by Mohammad Hafeez, Shoaib Malik, Hussain Talat, Usman Shinwari and Imad Wasim, respectively. Inzamam said the squad members were selected with the World Cup — to be held in England from May 30-July 14 this year — in mind. “The selected team are a unanimous choice of the selection panel, including captain Sarfraz and Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur. While selecting the squad, we have tried to maintain consistency, taking into consideration player performances in white-ball cricket as well as looking ahead to the upcoming ODI challenges, including the World Cup,” he maintained. The five-match series starts in Port Elizabeth on January 19, followed by matches in Durban (January 22), Centurion (January 25), Johannesburg (January 27), and Cape Town (January 30). Squad: Sarfaraz Ahmed (captain), Babar Azam, Faheem Ashraf, Fakhar Zaman, Hasan Ali, Hussain Talat, Imad Wasim, Imam-ul-Haq, Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Rizwan, Shadab Khan, Shaheen Afridi, Shan Masood, Shoaib Malik and Usman Shinwari. Published in Daily Times, January 10th 2019.