In-form batsman Mohammad Hafeez and struggling opener Fakhar Zaman are absent for the Twenty20 international series against South Africa next month from the Pakistan squad selected by selectors on Sunday.
Hafeez, 40 years old, is in the shape of his life, scoring 502 runs at an average of 100.40 with a strike rate of 153 in his last 12 Twenty20 internationals.
But Mohammad Waseem, the chief selector, said the senior batsman was not available for the match.
“There are no questions about the performance of Hafeez, but on February 3, when the squad will go in a bio-secure environment, he has not given his availability,” Waseem said while announcing the squad.
Hafeez is currently participating in Abu Dhabi’s T10 league, which ends on Feb 6.
On Feb 11, 13 and 14, Pakistan and South Africa will play three Twenty20 matches, all in Lahore.
Waseem said the new form has been considered for use, as well as the Twenty20 World Cup in India this year.
Zaman was in bad health, having only scored 97 runs in his last ten games. In December, he also missed the Twenty20 series in New Zealand despite a positive Covid-19 test.
The team, which also sees comebacks for pacer Hasan Ali, all-rounder Aamer Yamin and batsman Asif Ali, is headed by Babar Azam.
The 20-man squad also includes uncapped leg-spinner Zahid Mahmood, all-rounder Amad Butt and batsman Danish Aziz, whilst pacer Wahab Riaz is left out.
After beating South Africa by seven wickets in Karachi on Friday, Pakistan lead the two-match Test series 1-0.
They start their second test on Thursday in Rawalpindi.
Babar Azam (captain), Haider Ali, Khushdil Shah, Hussian Talat, Danish Aziz, Asif Ali, Iftikhar Ahmed, Mohammad Nawaz, Zafar Gohar, Faheem Ashraf, Aamer Yamin, Amad Butt, Mohammad Rizwan, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Haris Rauf, Mohammad Hussain, Hasan Ali, Usman Qadir, Zahid Mahmood