LAHORE - Pakistan has recalled Kamran Akmal, Abdul Razzaq and Imran Nazir into the 15-men squad announced by the national selectors for three Twenty20 internationals against Australia to be played in Dubai in the first week of September and the World Twenty20 Cup to be held in Sri Lanka from September 18.
The squad was finalised in a Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) meeting on Tuesday chaired by its chief Zaka Ashraf and attended by chief selector Iqbal Qasim and coach Dav Whatmore as they made five changes in the squad.
The chairman keeps faith in Muhammad Hafeez and retained him as captain for World Twenty20 Cup and the upcoming Twenty20 international series with Australia. He will continue as skipper till December 2012, a PCB source revealed.
Chief selector Iqbal Qasim said the final squad was decided after a thorough consultation among the selection committee, Hafeez and coach Whatmore. "We have selected the best possible squad after consultation and this Pakistan team has the capacity to win the World Twenty20," Qasim said.
Pakistan, runner-up in the inaugural Twenty20 in 2007 and winners in 2009, are placed in group D of the event, along with Bangladesh and New Zealand. The Chief selector defended recalling Razzaq and Nazir and said they were experienced players and deserved another chance to exhibit themselves.
"They are brilliant players and have experience of international cricket so we have given them another chance," said Qasim, also backing out-of-form pacemen M Sami and Umar Gul. "Gul and Sami are experienced campaigners and their form may be in question but they have class and with their experience can deliver," said Qasim.
Despite unsafe hands the selectors have put faith in wicket-keeper Kamran. The hard hitting opening batsman Imran Nazir and the dashing all-rounder Abdul Razzaq have also been included in the side. Yasir Arafat is another pace bowling all-rounder in the side alongside Razzaq. All-rounder Razzaq and hard-hitting opening batsman Nazir both played their last T20s in 2010 before being dropped.
Wicketkeeper Kamran has not played international cricket since last year's World Cup, and appeared before the PCB’s integrity committee last week and after getting clearance from the committee he was named in the squad.
Kamran claimed he has a letter from the International Cricket Council (ICC) that no inquiry is pending against him. Razzaq, Kamran, Nazir, Yasir Arafat, and Raza Hassan have replaced Ahmed Shehzad, Abdul Rehman, Shakil Ansar, and Khalid Latif in the T20 squad for Sri Lanka tour. Now names of the squad will be submitted to the ICC by August 18. Young Raza who is regarded as a primal talent is also featuring in the 15-man squad. Pakistan excluded experienced players like Younus Khan and Misbah-ul-Haq while Azhar Ali and Junaid Khan, who have been impressive in Sri Lanka also could not get nod for the mega event.
Pakistan will feel Junaid’s omission in the Twenty20 international series against Australia and World Twenty20 Cup to be held in Sri Lanka where he bowled superbly and got praises from Lankan captain Mahela Jayawardene and senior batsman Kumar Sangakkara. They feel that the young pacer improved his bowling a lot and they surprised over his heart out bowling at the flat tracks. Junaid also represented Lancashire in the England Twenty20 event and impressed his county with his superb bowling particularly in the finishing overs of the game. Pakistan is scheduled to play three one-day internationals and three Twenty20s against Australia from August 28 to September 10, before the World Twenty20 begins in Sri Lanka from September 18. All-rounders Razzaq, Shahid Afridi, Shoaib Malik, Sohail Tanveer and Yasir Arafat will be part of this team which, according to the PCB, will be the same one playing against Australia.
Squad: M Hafeez (Capt), Imran Nazir, Nasir Jamshaid, Asad Shafiq, Umar Akmal, Shoaib Malik, Kamran Akmal (W/K), Shahid Afridi, Abdul Razzaq, Yasir Arafat, Sohail Tanveer, Umar Gul, M Sami, Saeed Ajmal, Raza Hassan.