LAHORE: Pakistan has dropped under-suspicion wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal and senior batsman Muhammad Yousuf from the Twenty20 and Test squads announced Tuesday for next month’s tour of New Zealand.
Shahid Afridi will lead the Twenty20 team while Misbah-ul-Haq was retained as Test captain.
Akmal, who was ruled out of Pakistan’s recent series against South Africa in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) after surgery for appendicitis, has been at the centre of match-fixing allegations.
The International Cricket Council (ICC) reportedly issued notice to him regarding Pakistan’s controversial defeat against Australia in the Sydney Test in January.
However, there were reports in the media suggesting Akmal, had contacted the ICC regarding his selection and was told that he was cleared for selection.
Yousuf had to return home after the recurrence of a groin injury earlier this month and although he too was featuring in the domestic matches, selectors have left him out of the squad.
Malik and Kaneria also ignored
Also dropped was former captain Shoaib Malik, who had been omitted for the series against South Africa after performing poorly on the tour of England.
Also missing from the Test team was leg-spinner Danish Kaneria despite being cleared of spot-fixing charges in England.
Kaneria was initially included in the team for the two Tests against South Africa but was stopped from travelling to UAE by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).
Chief selector Mohsin Khan said the team was announced only after the PCB’s clearance had been issued.
“After the clearance by PCB, the selection committee has selected the best available combination of seniors and youngsters,” said Khan, without naming anyone.
“The upcoming tour of New Zealand is extremely important for us as it will help in preparations for the World Cup,” Khan said.
“PCB did not clear the names of Kamran and Malik, while Yousuf was dropped on fitness ground,” Khan told AFP.
“New Zealand team will be very difficult to beat on their home ground, but our team has recently shown great qualities of fight back and we hope it will settle down in near future,” he said.
Pakistan plays three Twenty20 matches, two Tests and six one-day internationals. A separate squad for the one-day matches will be announced later.
Twenty20 squad: Shahid Afridi (captain), Mohammad Hafeez, Ahmed Shahzad, Younis Khan, Umar Akmal, Fawad Alam, Adnan Akmal, Saeed Ajmal, Abdul Rehman, Abdul Razzaq, Umar Gul, Shoaib Akhtar, Tanveer Ahmed, Sohail Tanveer, Wahab Riaz (subject to fitness).
Test squad: Misbah-ul-Haq (captain), Mohammad Hafeez, Taufiq Umer, Younis Khan, Azhar Ali, Asad Shafiq, Umar Akmal, Adnan Akmal, Saeed Ajmal, Abdul Rehman, Umar Gul, Tanveer Ahmed, Sohail Tanveer, Wahab Riaz.