KARACHI: Former captain Younus Khan and experienced fast-bowler Umar Gul returned as selectors announced a 15-man squad for the forthcoming Test series against the West Indies.
The duo will replace limited-overs captain Shahid Afridi, who retired from Test cricket last year, and opening batsman Ahmed Shahzad for the two-match series starting from May 12. Misbahul Haq, who led the team against New Zealand in the last Test series, has been retained as captain.
Younus, the experienced middle-order batsman was rested for the One-Day International (ODI) series following an unimpressive show in the World Cup. Meanwhile, Gul opted to rest for the limited-overs leg of the tour, citing a hectic schedule in past three months.
“Younus is an integral part of the team’s batting line-up,” said chief selector Mohsin Khan. “His presence will definitely boost the team in the Test series.”
While the inclusion of the duo was on cards, the selection committee made a surprising decision by sticking with wicket-keeper Mohammad Salman and overlooking Adnan Akmal, younger brother of Kamran, who was impressive in the series against New Zealand.
“Salman has satisfied us with his performance but we can’t overlook the performance of Adnan Akmal in the New Zealand series,” the chief selector had said earlier.
As part of its policy to give chance to youngsters, the selectors also preferred to keep all-rounder Hammad Azam and left-arm pacer Junaid Khan in the squad while Tanvir Ahmed was also retained.
Meanwhile, leg-spinner Danish Kaneria and Fawad Alam failed to get the selectors’ nod despite an impressive run in the domestic tournaments.
Selectors met secretly
In an attempt to avoid media amid allegations of biased team selection by the Karachi City Cricket Association (KCCA), the selection committee met secretly to finalise the Test squad.
The selection committee, which usually meets in Lahore or Karachi, choose an undisclosed venue for the meeting before naming squad via a media release. While the selectors remained unreachable, the PCB officials were also unaware of the venue of the meeting.
“I don’t have any information on where the meeting is taking place,” PCB spokesperson Nadeem Sarwar confirmed to The Express Tribune. “Maybe at a local hotel somewhere.”
KCCA plans action against ‘unjust’ selection
Meanwhile, the KCCA lamented the decision to overlook Karachi players for the Test squad.
The KCCA President Sirajul Islam Bukhari told The Express Tribune that snubbing deserving Karachi players will be the main agenda of the body’s executive council meeting.
“We will plan on how to raise issue of ignoring deserving players in our meeting on May 10,” said Bukhari. “Players like Kaneria, Alam, Faisal Iqbal, Khurram Manzoor and Khalid Latif are ignored despite good performances. The continuous neglecting of our players is a serious issue which needs to be resolved.”
Misbahul Haq (captain), Younus Khan, Taufeeq Umar, Mohammad Hafeez, Asad Shafiq, Azhar Ali, Mohammad Salman, Saeed Ajmal, Abdur Rehman, Umar Akmal, Umar Gul, Wahab Riaz, Tanvir Ahmed, Junaid Khan, Hammad Azam
Published in The Express Tribune, May 3rd, 2011.