Pakistan selectors sprung a surprise Friday by resting regular skipper Sarfraz Ahmed and five key players for the ODI series against Australia.
While chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq stressed that resting Sarfraz was a unanimous decision, media reports blasted the move, suggesting Sarfraz did not want to miss all the matches.
Apart from Sarfraz, opener Fakhar Zaman, batsman Babar Azam, spinner Shadab Khan and fast bowlers Hasan Ali and Shaheen Shah Afridi will also be rested.
"We have the World Cup as our focus and since the team is playing non-stop cricket we are resting some players, including captain Sarfraz, as we want the players to be fresh for the mega event," Inzamam said at a press conference.
Shoaib Malik will lead the side.
Maverick batsman Umar Akmal, who last played against Australia more than two years ago, was recalled. The squad also has uncapped 31-year-old batsman Abid Ali and rookie fast bowler Mohammad Hasnain.