Junaid Khan so far has 78 wickets in 52 ODIs with a career-best of 4-12. © AFP

Junaid Khan so far has 78 wickets in 52 ODIs with a career-best of 4-12. © AFP

Junaid Khan has replaced Mohammad Irfan in Pakistan’s squad for their five-match One-Day International series. Irfan withdrew from the tour and flew back home on Monday (January 9) as his mother passed away.

Junaid has not played international cricket since the Colombo Test against Sri Lanka in June 2015, and his last ODI was against Zimbabwe in Lahore in May that year. He, however, has been in good form in the domestic circuit. In his last List A game for Peshawar against Federally Administered Tribal Areas on Sunday, he finished with figures of 4 for 31 to set up a six-wicket win. He also returned figures of 3 for 29 for Water and Power Development Authority against Sui Southern Gas Corporation Limited in a Departmental Cup one-day tournament game.

Junaid, once seen as an automatic pick in the starting XI, has so far 78 wickets in 52 ODIs with a career-best of 4 for 12 against Ireland in Belfast in May 2011. Of his three four-wicket hauls, the most remarkable one was against India on helpful conditions early in the morning in Chennai in December 2012. He removed Virender Sehwag, Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh and Rohit Sharma as India slipped to 29 for 5 in 9.4 overs and went on to lose the series.

Junaid joins Mohammad Amir, Wahab Riaz, Rahat Ali and Hasan Ali in the pace bowling department.

Irfan, who last represented Pakistan in an ODI in England in September last year, was himself on a comeback trail. He had walked out of the ground with cramps after bowling only five overs, and had been criticised by Mickey Arthur, the coach.

He worked on his fitness and proved his mettle in first-class games with good performances for WADA in their successful Quaid-e-Azam Trophy campaign. He picked up three wickets in the first innings in the final as WADA prevailed over Habib Bank on first-innings lead.

He also returned figures of 4 for 25 for WADA against National Bank of Pakistan in a Departmental Cup game.

Irfan, among the tallest international cricketers at 7’1’’, had been selected for the tour of Australia to extract maximum benefit from the bounce on offer.

This is the second change to Pakistan’s ODI squad after Hafeez had been added as the 16th member on the insistence of Arthur and Azhar Ali, the captain.

The first ODI will be played in Brisbane on January 13. Before that, Pakistan play a warm-up game against Cricket Australia XI on January 10.