Pakistan news April 3, 2015

Ajmal back in Pakistan squad for all three formats


Saeed Ajmal last played for Pakistan in August 2014 © AFP

Saeed Ajmal has been picked by Pakistan for all three formats for the tour of Bangladesh, after his remodelled action was cleared by the ICC in February. Umar Akmal, who had a poor World Cup, was dropped from the three formats, while opener Ahmed Shehzad was left out of the ODI and Test squads, but found a place in the T20 side. Allrounder Fawad Alam, who was not picked for the World Cup, made a comeback for the ODIs as Misbah-ul-Haq and Shahid Afridi's retirements vacated two spots.

Younis Khan's name was missing from the ODI squad, but the PCB said he was "rested." Fast bowler Junaid Khan returned to the Test and T20 squads after he missed the World Cup with a thigh injury, while Mohammad Hafeez was picked for all three formats. A calf injury had kept Hafeez out of the World Cup too, and he is yet to clear the ICC test, scheduled for April 9, with his reworked action after he was suspended last year. Wahab Riaz and Sohail Khan were rewarded for their performances in the World Cup - they were Pakistan's top two wicket-takers - by being picked for all three formats.

"We carried out an in-depth discussion about Pakistan's World Cup performance, our future strategy and how we can take the team forward," newly-appointed chief selector Haroon Rasheed said in a press conference in Lahore. "The Test ranking is good but the area of concern is the one-day team as our ranking is quite low, around seventh position. We need stability and the upcoming Bangladesh tour is very important and we have to give continuity to the team."

The selection panel made a whole host of changes for the Bangladesh tour. They named two new faces for the ODIs - wicketkeeper-batsman Mohammad Rizwan and left-handed opening batsman Sami Aslam, the Under-19 captain from the 2014 World Cup.

They left out an out-of-form Nasir Jamshed after he played three matches in the World Cup, making scores of 4, 1 and 0. He last scored an ODI fifty in July 2013. The selectors went for Asad Shafiq instead, who last played in the ODIs against New Zealand in the UAE in December. Shafiq has scored three fifties and a hundred this year in domestic one-dayers in Pakistan.

Shehzad and Akmal were the two main players to be dropped from the squads as both had underwhelming performances in the World Cup. Shehzad, whose best scores came against UAE and Ireland, made 227 runs at an average of 32.42 in his seven innings while Akmal could manage just 164 at 27.33. It is understood that apart from their performances, both players had discipline issues throughout the World Cup and their axing was mainly centred around their "attitude." The tour report from one of the key officials in the team management described both as "not into cricket."

Rasheed did not divulge the report on both players but dished out a strict message for them regarding discipline. "If you want to play for Pakistan, you have to fulfil the requirement of discipline and country should come first," Rasheed said. "Just not the off-field discipline but the cricketing discipline. Your job is to contribute towards Pakistan's victory. You have to keep your individuality aside. We will support all the players, but we expect thorough professionalism. For that, if we have to take some strict measures we will take it. It's a normal decorum; we have sent a message that cricketing discipline is more important to us. Performance must be for the benefit of the team and not the individuals.

"We have seen the World Cup performances. We are not against anyone's career, they are still available but they have to perform according to the merits and according to the team management's thinking and strategy. It's a combination of everything. The selection committee is taking independent decisions and there's no pressure. We will keep aside all the pressures and will try to select the best team. We will see where Pakistan team stands now, after one year and after three years."

From the Test squad that played against New Zealand in the UAE last year, Ehsan Adil, Imran Khan, Mohammad Talha, Shan Masood and Taufeeq Umar were left out, making way for uncapped batsmen Sami Aslam and Babar Azam, who averaged 53.62 in the recent first-class season and 63.44 in one-dayers.

The T20 squad from the previous tour in UAE left out Anwar Ali, Awais Zia, Raza Hasan to bring in Sohaib Maqsood, Rizwan and uncapped batsman Mukhtar Ahmed - a promising middle-order batsman with only five domestic T20s to his name. The 22-year-old batsman has scored two fifties and a hundred this year in one-day matches for State Bank of Pakistan, who won the President's Gold Cup in February. He has a T20 hundred and a strike rate of 161.15.

Fast bowler Mohammad Irfan, who was injured during the World Cup, was not available for the Bangladesh tour.

Pakistan's tour to Bangladesh is yet to be announced officially and has been delayed due to public holidays in Bangladesh. Pakistan are likely to arrive in Dhaka on April 13 to start the three-ODI series from April 17 in Mirpur.

Pakistan Test squad: Babar Azam, Mohammad Hafeez, Sami Aslam, Misbah-ul-Haq (capt), Asad Shafiq, Azhar Ali, Younis Khan, Haris Sohail, Saeed Ajmal, Yasir Shah, Zulfiqar Babar, Sarfraz Ahmed, Wahab Riaz, Junaid Khan, Sohail Khan, Rahat Ali

Pakistan ODI squad: Sarfraz Ahmed, Mohammad Hafeez, Asad Shafiq, Fawad Alam, Azhar Ali (capt), Mohammad Rizwan, Haris Sohail, Sohaib Maqsood, Sami Aslam, Saeed Ajmal, Yasir Shah, Wahab Riaz, Rahat Ali, Ehsan Adil, Sohail Khan

Pakistan T20 squad: Ahmed Shehzad, Sarfraz Ahmed, Mohammad Hafeez, Mukhtar Ahmed, Sohaib Maqsood, Haris Sohail, Mohammad Rizwan, Saeed Ajmal, Shahid Afridi (capt), Sohail Tanvir, Saad Nasim, Wahab Riaz, Sohail Khan, Umar Gul, Junaid Khan

Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent. @kalson

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • subhasish on April 9, 2015, 4:46 GMT

    i think pak need to pick young players not old players they need to move on from old player if they want to become a gud team in all formats they need to take hard call on some senior players player like younis.maisbha canot play for another 5 years so selector need to replace them as quicklt as possible

  • Dummy4 on April 8, 2015, 16:49 GMT

    we have spoken alot for the selection of sami aslam sadaf hussain babar azam haris sohail thanks GOD new selection panel has atleast included some of them . few technical mistakes in my opinion are Fawad should be automatic choice in test matches yet he is selected in ODIs . Alongwith Azhar we have two tuk tuk players in ODIs now .Hafeez shouldnt play tests if we swap him with fawad we can have v good test team . Exclusion of umar akmal and shehzad was necessary step . M.Sami should have been selected instead of tanvir in t20s or rahat in ODIs .

  • Dummy on April 8, 2015, 14:45 GMT

    Umar Akmal deserved the axe. I am one of his biggest fans. He has such talent & its being wasted. Shehzad really hasnt proven anything to the doubters. So glad Ajmal & Hafeez are back.

  • faiz on April 7, 2015, 7:35 GMT

    it is a good selection on paper. important thing is the playing eleven. like in the the wc we never played yasir and brought sarfaraz late. hafeez is a good selection if he is allowed to bowl, otherwise he does not deserve to be in the playing eleven. I guess the retesting of his action will clear that. he must not be selected on batting alone. even if he is playing he should bat down and give someone like sami aslam to open with sarfaraz. pak can have a great ODI eleven sarfaraz, sami, haris, azhar, fawad, sohaib, hafeez, saeed, wahab,sohail,rahat. we have tried hafeez as opener for so long and it has not worked. let us move on and try a new youngster to open.

  • Mirwaise Khan on April 7, 2015, 6:52 GMT

    Overall selection is reliable, the main issue is the ODI Captaincy, handed over to Azhar Ali. M.Hafeez is senior and experienced ODI player, he has the right of Captaincy. Hope for the Best in the Upcoming Pakistan Cricket!

  • ick on April 7, 2015, 4:41 GMT

    Selection of Hafeez in test matches, Asad Shafiq/ Fawad Alam in ODI's and Junaid Khan in T20 is totally wrong. Instead Hafeez should play only limited cricket. Junaid Khan should play ODI's and Asad Shafiq and Fawad Alam are natural test players but not at all ODI material. Their selection in ODI squad shows the dropped shoulders and tail in the back legs of selectors. They are still thinking that our team will have a collapse all the time and we need 3 TUK TUK batsmen in the team including the skippBabar Azam should also get a chance in ODI's. Junaid is better in ODI 's but not in T20's. We should give more chances to younger players and make a good team for next WC in ODI and T20 format with fresh talent.

  • Mohammad on April 6, 2015, 12:09 GMT

    I am liking the new selection options, barring a few, for Pakistan. My issues are with the fast bowlers. Not a big fan of Rahat Ali and Ehsan Adil. Sohail Khan inclusion is okay, I guess. But with Junaid back, Wahab's recent performance, we do not need the former two that I mentioned, Glad to see Fawad back in as he rightfully deserved this long time ago. I am a little iffy about Mohammad Hafeez. But let us see.

  • Dummy4 on April 6, 2015, 0:50 GMT

    They missed Junaid in the ODI squad, but still gud selection overall.

  • aziz on April 5, 2015, 19:19 GMT

    In the rebuilding process the selectors missed the chance to expose more players. In my opinion one player should play in maximum two formats and preferebly in only one faormat.

    Here are my proposed teams:

    Squads: In my opinion the slecetors should have have given chance to more players and rewarded top performers.

    ODI: Sami Aslam, Sarfraz Ahmed, Mohammad Hafeez (openers); Fawad Alam, Azhar Ali (captain), Haris Sohail, Shoaib Malik, Abdul Razzak, Anwar Ali (middle-order batsmen); Saeed Ajmal, Yasir Shah (spinners); Wahab Riaz, Rahat Ali, Ehsan Adil, Sohail Khan, (fast bowlers).

    The selectors should have given chance to Kamran Akmal, Owais Zia, Sharjeel Khan and Hassan Raza in t-20 and Faisal Iqbal, Miohammad Sami and Imran Khan in test team.

  • asad on April 5, 2015, 17:54 GMT

    You know the selection is good from PCB when you can count the number of mistakes they made on one hand. 1. Asad Shafiq in ODIs (proven failure in ODI), 2. Mohammad Hafeez in test (proven failure in test but I can see some reasoning), 3. Fawad Alam not in tests (will be good in test), 4. Junaid Khan in T20 but not in ODI (he is not good in T20 which ruins his confidence & he is very good in ODI), 5. No fast bowling all rounder in any of the squads. It's good to see new guys like Babar Azam, Sami Aslam, Mohammad Rizwan, Mukhtar Ahmed & the absence of Umar Akmal & Ahmed Shehzad (they're talented but irresponsible & have behavioral issues). Mohammad Rizwan is a good player & I hope he can secure the role of backup wicket keeper. In T20s Rizwan should get a chance so that he can prove himself. In future series we should try to bring in Sadaf Hussain so that our bowling can get even stronger.

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