Experienced campaigners Younus Khan and Umar Gul were overlooked as the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) selection committee announced a 16-man squad for the One-Day International (ODI) series against Australia to be held in the UAE.
Fast-bowlers Mohammad Sami and Rahat Ali, while wicket-keeper Sarfraz Ahmed, who were part of the ODI series against Sri Lanka, were also sidelined from the three-match rubber that starts on August 28.
On the other hand, former captain Shoaib Malik and wicket-keeper Kamran Akmal made their way into the squad.
Left-arm pacer Junaid Khan, who was snubbed for the Twenty20 series against Australia and the World Twenty20, has been added, while fast-bowler Anwar Ali also earned a recall.
Left-handed Nasir Jamshed, who missed the Sri Lanka tour due to injury, also features in the squad.
Not a career threatening snub for Younus: Qasim
The team was announced following a meeting between the selectors and head coach Dav Whatmore. Captain Misbahul Haq gave his feedback on the team selection to chief selector Iqbal Qasim before departing for the ongoing Sri Lanka Premier league.
According to the chief selector, the decision to overlook Younus was taken unanimously by the selection committee and the team management.
The former captain struggled for runs in recent assignments, leading to the debate of restricting the seasoned batsman’s career to only Tests.
However, the snub has not been termed a threat to Younus’ ODI career by Qasim.
“There are no casualties,” Qasim official told The Express Tribune following the team announcement. “The players who are snubbed are just rested. Similarly, Younus has also been rested. The senior players, including Gul and Sami, were not in good form in the ODI series against Sri Lanka. They have been given a break and that may help them to regain their form.
“We have tough series lined up ahead against India and South Africa and we don’t want to dent their confidence any further.”
‘Kamran brought in to strengthen batting’
Commenting on Kamran’s return to the ODI squad, Qasim said the wicket-keeper was recalled to bring depth to the batting. Kamran hit a quickfire half-century in his first match of the Sri Lankan Premier League and it’s his form that prompted the selection committee to give him the nod.
“Our team has been struggling in the batting department for the last few series. Kamran has better batting credentials and he’s in good form. His inclusion will improve our batting strength.
“Meanwhile, Sarfraz should not lose hope as he will get ample chances in the future.”
He added Malik was the best suitable candidate to replace Younus.
“We are up against top opposition and wanted to replace Younus with an experienced middle-order batsman and Malik was the best option.”
The chief selector added Junaid is undergoing a process of development and will slowly and gradually find his place in all formats.
“Junaid is working hard and showing significant improvement. After the Tests, we have included him in ODIs and he will get chance in Twenty20s as well.”
N Jamshaid, M Hafeez, A Ali, A Shafiq, Misbah, U Akmal, K Akmal, S Afridi, S Tanvir, A Cheema, S Ajmal, I Farhat, S Malik, A Rehman, J Khan, A Ali
Published in The Express Tribune, August 14th, 2012.