DUBLIN: Pakistan are ready lock horns with Ireland in the first One Day International (ODI) of a two-match series at The Village, Malahide, Dublin on Thursday.
Unlike Test, Pakistan are having a poor run in ODI format, especially after the retirement of Misbah and Afridi.
Azhar Ali has so fat failed to find the ‘right combination’ in his one and a half year span of captaincy.
Under the captaincy of Azhar Ali, Pakistan have only won eight ODIs, four of them against Zimbabwe.
Green Shirts suffered a humiliating 3-0 defeat at the hands of Bangladesh, lost one game in Zimbabwe before winning 3-2 in Sri Lanka.
Since then, Pakistan have lost 3-1 against England in UAE, and then 2-0 by New Zealand in January.
Due to their poor run, they have been thrown down to the ninth spot in ICC ODI rankings, outside of the automatic qualification places for the 2019 World Cup.
Just like Pakistan, Ireland have been through a rough patch in recent years. Their throne of being King of Associates is under serious threat as they shared recent series against Afghanistan 2-2 and lost at the hands of Sri Lanka at home.
Ranking has been ruled out of the series due to a stress fracture. But no replacement called as Craig Young is now available after an elbow injury.
The batting will be boosted by the return of Niall O’Brien.
On the other hand, Pakistan skipper Azhar would want to find a right balance between young blood and experience. Hafeez, who was rested for the final Test at Oval due to his poor form, might get a call as this a different ball game.
Ireland (probable) 1 William Porterfield (capt), 2 Ed Joyce, 3 Niall O’Brien, 4 Gary Wilson, 5 Kevin O’Brien, 6 Paul Stirling, 7 Stuart Poynter (wk), 8 Andy McBrine, 9 Tim Murtagh, 10 Barry McCarthy, 11 Peter Chase/Craig Young
Pakistan (from) Azhar Ali (capt), Sharjeel Khan, Sami Aslam, Mohammad Hafeez, Baber Azam, Shoaib Malik, Sarfraz Ahmed, Mohammad Rizwan, Mohammad Amir, Wahab Riaz, Hasan Ali, Umar Gul, Imad Wasim, Yasir Shah, Mohammad Nawaz