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Pakistan's Sarfraz to miss 1st ODI v Aust

AAP logoAAP 12/01/2017 Vince Rugari

Pakistan could be without vice-captain and wicketkeeper Sarfraz Ahmed for their entire five-match ODI series against Australia.

Captain Azhar Ali confirmed on Thursday that Sarfraz had returned to Pakistan to be with his mother, who is ill and in intensive care in hospital.

Mohammad Rizwan will take the gloves for Friday's opening day-night clash at the Gabba and possibly for the remainder of the tour if Sarfraz does not return.

It comes just days after fast bowler Mohammad Irfan had also left the team following the death of his mother.

"We'll definitely miss him tomorrow. Hopefully, he can rejoin the team but, as for right now, he's not here," Azhar told reporters.

Around half the players involved in Pakistan's Test series whitewash against Australia have been retained in the ODI squad.

However, the addition of few fresh faces and Tuesday's 196-run thumping of a Cricket Australia XI in Brisbane have helped brighten the mood around the team, according to Azhar.

"I know it wasn't a very competitive game, but I still believe the batsmen who scored runs will get a lot of confidence," he said.

"The bowlers had a good outing as well.

"There's nothing like playing matches. It's good to be out there, no matter what sort of team you play against."

Pakistan are at No.8 in the ICC's latest ODI rankings and must remain in the top eight come September to be automatic qualifiers for the 2019 World Cup.

"It's not far from the cut-off time so we want to be on top of it," Azhar said.

"As a team, we improved in the last four or five games - our performances have been really good. We want to keep building on that."

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