KARACHI: Pakistan on Thursday gave rookie left-arm fast bowler Rahat Ali a surprise cricket World Cup call-up, to replace the injured Junaid Khan.
The 26-year-old Ali has played just one one-day international, in 2012, and was not considered for any of the 10 one-dayers Pakistan played in the build-up to the World Cup, which starts on February 14.
Junaid was ruled out of the tournament in Australia and New Zealand earlier this week after failing to recover from a leg injury he sustained last month.
The Pakistan Cricket Board said Ali was chosen as a replacement for injured Junaid — despite the fact he was not even in the 30-strong preliminary squad announced last month.
Pakistan picked seamer Bilawal Bhatti for the two one-day internationals against New Zealand in the hope he could fill in for Junaid.
But New Zealand’s batsmen hammered Bhatti in the second ODI on Tuesday, pasting him for 93 in 10 overs — equalling Wahab Riaz’s record for the most expensive figures in one-day cricket for Pakistan.
That disappointing performance forced the selectors and team management to bring Ali in to the 15-man squad.
Pakistan lost both ODIs against New Zealand and will hope for a better show in their two warm-up games in Sydney — against Bangladesh on February 9 and England two days later.
They open their World Cup campaign with a match against arch-rivals and defending champions India in Adelaide on February 15.