The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) selection committee has recalled wicket-keeper Kamran Akmal, all-rounder Abdul Razzaq and opener Imran Nazir as a 15-man squad was announced for the Twenty20 series against Australia and the World Twenty20.
Mohammad Hafeez, who led Pakistan in the two-match series against Sri Lanka, was retained as captain, ending speculation on the appointment of the leader.
Promising middle-order batsman Asad Shafiq, who did not feature in the Twenty20 series against Sri Lanka, was included following an impressive show in the Tests.
Meanwhile, fast-bowlers Umar Gul and Mohammad Sami were retained despite an average outing on the Sri Lanka tour. Young left-arm spinner Raza Hasan was also included.
Opening batsman Nasir Jamshed, who missed the Sri Lanka tour due to injury, also returned to the squad.
According to an official close to the selection committee, the team was announced following days of deliberation after the team’s return from Sri Lanka.
The selectors held a series of meetings with the team management including head coach Dav Whatmore and Hafeez.
“The PCB ensured that the returning trio especially Razzaq were completely fit before giving a green signal on their inclusion,” said the official
Respite for Razzaq
The team announcement was a fresh lease of life for the 32-year old who had been ruled out by many after he was overlooked for the Sri Lanka series.
The all-rounder last played for Pakistan during the ‘home’ series against Sri Lanka in the UAE last year and missed the England series and the Asia Cup.
“Razzaq has plenty of experience,” said chief selector Iqbal Qasim told The Express Tribune. “He can be a very useful option which is the reason why he has been recalled.”
Qasim said the players were selected keeping in mind their expertise in the format.
“We have selected players who have been impressive in Twenty20s. We have tried to form a balanced squad.”
‘Kamran preferred due to batting expertise’
Meanwhile, according to another official, Kamran was selected over Sarfraz Ahmed and Shakeel Ansar on the basis of his superior batting record.
“The wicket-keepers have failed to impress with the bat since Kamran was dropped after the 2011 World Cup. Nowadays a good wicket-keeper batsman has become very important which is why he was preferred over the younger duo. Hopefully he will do well behind the stumps as well.”
Kamran has scored 704 runs in 33 Twenty20 internationals, a tally that includes five half-centuries. The 30-year old was recently cleared by the PCB’s integrity committee after his name was mentioned during a spot-fixing trial.
M Hafeez, I Nazir, N Jamshaid, A Shafiq, U Akmal, S Malik, K Akmal, S Afridi, A Razzaq, Y Arafat, S Tanvir, U Gul, M Sami, S Ajmal, R Hassan
Published in The Express Tribune, July 18th, 2012.
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