KARACHI: Pakistan's selectors came under scathing attack from former players and media Thursday over the selection of a World Cup squad, saying key talent had been left out of the team.
Wicket-keeper batsman Kamran Akmal was named in the preliminary squad after getting clearance from the Pakistan Cricket Board, but former captain Shoaib Malik and leg-spinner Danish Kaneria were not.
Also missing from the early list of probables was Fawad Alam, which former spinner Iqbal Qasim said was a bad move.
"There are two parts of the World Cup announcement, the first 30 players and then the final 15, and I think the selectors concentrated on the final squad and did not care for the 30, which is wrong," Qasim told AFP.
"I think Alam should have been in the initial squad, while young all-rounder Hammad Azam brought as a future prospect is nowhere," said Qasim, who resigned as chief selector after Pakistan's disastrous tour of Australia last year.
Alam scored 337 runs in his last 11 matches with an average of 37.66.
Pakistan have until January 19 to announce the final 15 for the tournament to be hosted jointly by India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh from February 19-April 2.
The English-language daily Dawn was also critical, lashing out at Alam's omission.
"The exclusion of utility player Alam is jarring. He has shown the talent to at least be on this preliminary list," said the newspaper in its editorial.
"The PCB (Pakistan Cricket Board) obviously anticipated such queries, and chief selector Mohsin Khan chose not to face the media... Instead, the media was fed a press release," the newspaper said.
According to the averages of the domestic matches, top bowlers like Sadaf Hussain (64 wickets), Abdur Rauf (63) and Mohammad Khalil (61) were overlooked while Asad Ali (56) was included in the squad.
National Urdu-language daily Jang blamed selectors for trying to replace limited over captain Shahid Afridi with the ageing Misbah-ul-Haq.
"There is a lobby working to replace Afridi as captain and some selectors are behind that campaign and in selecting the probables for the World Cup Afridi's opinion was also not taken," wrote the newspaper.