Pakistan have named their 15-man squad for the forthcoming ICC Champions Trophy, which will be held in England this June. Shahid Afridi’s axing is the big news, although Umar Akmal and Younus Khan have also been dropped from the team that narrowly lost a five-match series in South Africa in March. Umar Gul is another who misses out after he was forced to withdraw from Pakistan’s list of 30 probables for the tournament due to injury.
Explaining the decision to drop Afridi for the second time in five months, Pakistan selector Iqbal Qasim said, "Afridi had been selected as a bowling all-rounder [in South Africa] but he was not up to the mark and couldn't score at crucial occasions so we had to left him out. His career is not finished, if he performs at domestic level, he can stage a comeback." Afridi failed to take a wicket in any of the five matches in South Africa and only shone briefly with the bat, hitting 88 in a losing cause in Johannesburg.
The beneficiaries of the exclusions of Afridi, Younus and Umar Akmal are fast-bowlers Ehsan Adil and Asad Ali and the return of batsman Umar Amin.
Adil and Asad are yet to play limited-overs cricket for Pakistan, with the former’s only senior appearance for his country coming on the Test-leg of the tour of South Africa, and 24 year-old Asad yet to debut in any format. He was, though, picked in the squad for the Twenty20 matches in South Africa and has 99 List A wickets at the impressive average of 18.72.
Umar Amin, 23, has also been selected in Pakistan’s recent Twenty20 squads without featuring and last played a One-Day International in 2010. His recall is a reward for strong performances in Pakistan domestic cricket for Port Qasim Authority and Rawalpindi Rams.
Pakistan are the second country after New Zealand to announce their final squad for the tournament, which begins on 6th June. Their opening fixture in Group B - which also includes South Africa and arch-rivals India - is on 7th June against the West Indies at The Oval.
Pakistan squad: Misbah-ul-Haq (captain), Mohammad Hafeez, Imran Farhat, Nasir Jamshed, Kamran Akmal, Shoaib Malik, Asad Shafiq, Saeed Ajmal, Junaid Khan, Mohammad Irfan, Asad Ali, Wahab Riaz, Umar Amin, Abdur Rehman, Ehsan Adil.
© Cricket World 2013
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