West Indies bowl; Kraigg Brathwaite debuts

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West Indies captain Jason Holder called correctly at the toss and opted to bowl against Pakistan in the first ODI in Sharjah. The surface was dry and cracked, quite similar to the ones used for the T20 internationals in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. The visitors named a limited-overs debutant in opening batsman Kraigg Brathwaite, who has played 31 Tests so far. He came in for Andre Fletcher, who was not picked in the ODI squad.

pak1Right-arm pacer Shannon Gabriel was the only frontline fast bowler in the XI, with Sunil Narine and Sulieman Benn being the spinners. Holder felt that the ODI side was well-prepared, with the squad having arrived in the UAE a week before the tour.

Pakistan, meanwhile, made a lone change from their previous ODI, in Cardiff, with Wahab Riaz replacing Umar Gul. Mohammad Rizwan was picked as a specialist batsman again, which meant Umar Akmal missed the cut.

With West Indies ranked No. 8 and Pakistan No. 9, the series adds greater significance as the teams race to secure automatic qualification for the 2019 World Cup. At the cut-off date of September 30, 2017, the top eight teams in the rankings will gain direct entry into the tournament, with the ones ranked lower required to play a qualifying tournament. A 3-0 series win for Pakistan would have them displace West Indies from the No. 8 spot.

Pakistan: 1 Azhar Ali (capt.), 2 Sharjeel Khan, 3 Babar Azam, 4 Shoaib Malik, 5 Sarfraz Ahmed (wk), 6 Mohammad Rizwan, 7 Mohammad Nawaz 8 Imad Wasim, 9 Wahab Riaz, 10 Mohammad Amir, 11 Hasan Ali

West Indies: 1 Kraigg Brathwaite, 2 Johnson Charles, 3 Darren Bravo, 4 Marlon Samuels, 5 Denesh Ramdin (wk), 6 Kieron Pollard, 7 Jason Holder (capt.), 8 Carlos Brathwaite, 9 Sunil Narine, 10 Sulieman Benn, 11 Shannon Gabriel. (ESPNcricinfo) 

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