LAHORE - Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Saturday axed out-of-form M Hafeez from 12-man squad announced to a play Test series against South Africa in the United Arab Emirates this month.
Stylish opener Hafeez, who leads green shirts in the shortest format of the game, has been passing through a bad patch and lack of form in test matches. He could score only 102 runs in his last five Test appearances. The series starts in Abu Dhabi on October 14, with the second Test in Dubai from October 23.
Having a look at squad reveals that Pakistan is looking to hunt down South Africa with the help of spinners. Left arm spinner Zulfiqar Babar and Abdul Rehman have been included to lend support to magical spinner Saeed Ajmal.
On one hand unimpressive Hafeez has been dropped but on the other hand, some other non-performers like lanky paceman M Irfan and Umar Amin have earned a recall in the squad. M Irfan could pick up only one wicket in his last two appearances against South Africa this year. Umar Amin also failed to impress in four Tests he played in 2010.
Apart from player’s performances, the state of affairs at the PCB is also not very impressive. The selection committee, which is without chief selector, grossly failed to announce full strength squad.
The only opener included in the squad is Khurram Manzoor. Three more players will be inducted after three day match between Pakistan ‘A’ and South Africa in Sharjah starting from October 8. Pakistan left out batsmen Asad Shafiq, Umar Akmal, Ahmed Shahzad and Shan Masood, but they still have a chance of making the larger squad. Pakistan and South Africa will pay three Tests, five one-day internationals and two Twenty20 internationals. The squads for shorter versions of game will be announced later.
TEST SQUAD: Misbahul Haq (capt), Khurram Manzoor, Azhar Ali, Younus Khan, Umar Amin, Adnan Akmal, Saeed Ajmal, Zulfiqar Babar, Abdul Rehman, Junaid Khan, M Irfan and Rahat Ali.