Chief selector Inzamamul Haq has announced the 16-member squad for the upcoming Asia Cup, which will start from September 15 in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
All-rounder Imad Wasim has been left out of the squad after failing to pass the fitness test during the ongoing training camp in Lahore on Monday.
The major absentee form the squad who thrashed Zimbabwe 5-0 in their last 50-over assignment was veteran all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez, who is being replaced by opener Shan Masood.
The left-hander has been inducted as the third opener for the team alongside Fakhar Zaman and Imamul Haq.
The Men in Green will face the qualifying team in their first match on September 16, whereas the match against arch-rivals India will be played on September 19 in Dubai.
Talking about the squad, Inzamam said the team is good enough to produce results in tough conditions in the UAE.
“These players are selected keeping in mind the tough conditions in the UAE and we believe they will do well,” he said. “The weather there is extremely warm and therefore, the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) allowed us to select 16 players for the tournament.”
Talking about the selection of Masood and exclusion of Hafeez, Inzamam said: “Masood is in brilliant form. He has scored 1,300 runs in List A cricket so I think he deserved a place before the upcoming World Cup. On the other hand, Hafeez is in our plans for the upcoming World Cup but right now we felt it is the right time to give youngster a chance in a tournament like this. Hafeez career is not over by any means. We don’t decide which player’s career is finished. We have a lot of cricket coming up before the World Cup, so we will select him at the right time.”
Talking about Wasim, Inzamam said that the all-rounder failed the fitness test, not once but twice. “We’ve a clear-cut policy that there is no compromise on fitness,” he said. “Wasim failed the fitness test, not once but twice and therefore we couldn’t select him. He is a valuable asset and I am sure he will be back in the team very soon.”
Talking about Kamran Akmal’s outburst against captain, coach and selection committee, Inzamam said: “I am here to select player who are performing well, but sometimes the situation is such that players cannot find their place in the squad because there is too much competition and it is just unfortunate.”
Fakhar Zaman, Imamul Haq, Shan Masood, Babar Azam, Shoaib Malik, Sarfraz Ahmed (captain), Asif Ali, Haris Sohail, Shadab Khan, Muhammad Nawaz, Fahim Ashraf, Hasan Ali, Muhammad Amir, Junaid Khan, Usman Khan Shinwari, Shaheen Shah Afridi