LAHORE: Pakistan’s new selection panel Saturday left out struggling all-rounder Shoaib Malik and opener Imran Farhat from the 15-man squad announced for Asia Cup in Dhaka later this month.
The four-nation event includes defending champions India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh and will be held March 11-22.
Malik, 30, was controversially selected for last month’s one-day and Twenty20 series against England despite being not in the best of form. Pakistan lost the ODIs 4-0 and T20 series 2-1, leading to calls for an overhaul of the team.
Misbahul Haq will lead the squad despite calls for his axing after he failed to win the last Twenty20 in Abu Dhabi when he was bowled off the final delivery, leaving England victorious by five runs.
Iqbal Qasim, head of the new selection committee which took charge on Thursday, said wholesale changes were not needed.
“We have selected the best possible squad for the Asia Cup in the shortest time available and since Malik was an additional member for the England series we couldn’t find a place for him in the 15-man squad,” Qasim told AFP.
Malik, who had 35 runs in his last eight one-day matches before the England series, managed 23 and seven in the two matches he got to bat against England and was certain to be axed.
Malik was included against England on captain Misbah’s insistence but Qasim said the skipper was consulted on the new lineup.
“We did consult Misbah and he agreed to the selection,” said Qasim.
Former opener Farhat and wicket-keeper Adnan Akmal were also left out while in-form opener Nasir Jamshed and wicket-keeper Sarfraz Ahmed were included.
“Jamshed has done well recently so we have included him,” said Qasim of the 22-year-old left-handed opener.
Not considered for selection were allrounder Abdul Razzaq and wicket-keeper batsman Kamran Akmal – not part of the team since last year.
Pakistan will also have a new coach in Dav Whatmore who is expected to sign a two-year contract later Saturday. The former Australian batsman, who guided Sri Lanka to the World Cup title in 1996, replaces interim coach Mohsin Khan.
Khan led Pakistan to 3-0 Test victory over England last month but failed in the limited over series.
Squad: Misbahul Haq (captain), Mohammad Hafeez, Nasir Jamshed, Younis Khan, Umar Akmal, Hammad Azam, Asad Shafiq, Shahid Afrid, Azhar Ali, Sarfraz Ahmed, Saeed Ajmal, Abdul Rehman, Umar Gul, Aizaz Cheema, Wahab Riaz.
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