Pakistan news May 25, 2016

Shehzad left out of 22-man probables list for England tour

Ahmed Shehzad was omitted from Pakistan's preliminary squad for the England tour, despite being the top run-getter in the Pakistan Cup © AFP

Pakistan opener Ahmed Shehzad, who had been left out of the side's training camp on disciplinary grounds at the start of May, was omitted from 22-man preliminary squad for the England tour in July-August as well. ESPNcricinfo understands that Shehzad was left out on disciplinary grounds again, despite being the leading run-getter in the 50-over Pakistan Cup with 372 runs at an average of 74.40, including a century and three fifties.

The selectors picked the probables mainly from the ongoing boot camp at the Pakistan Military Academy in Abbottabad. After that camp, the selected players will report for a skills camp between May 20 and June 5.

Mohammad Hafeez, who had missed the training camp because of a knee injury, and legspinner Yasir Shah who was undergoing rehabilitation for a knee injury of his own, found places in the list of probables.

Hafeez underwent a medical test on Wednesday, which will determine his availability for the four-match Test series. Sami Aslam, Shan Masood and Khurram Manzoor were the other openers to be picked. Yasir, meanwhile, is expected to be fit in a week.

The selection committee, headed by Inzamam-ul-Haq, called up two uncapped Karachi batsmen - Asif Zakir and Akbar-ur-Rehman. Asif had scored 791 runs in 10 first-class matches in 2015-16 at an average of 56.50, while Akbar-ur-Rehman made 761 runs in 10 first-class games at 58.53.

Left-handed batsman Fawad Alam, who was picked in the squad for the England series in the UAE in 2015-16, was left out despite topping the fitness tests - he was joint top with Mohammad Rizwan and Masood. Instead, batsman Iftikhar Ahmed, who could bowl offspin, has been picked. Iftikhar, who is uncapped in Tests, had made his ODI debut against England last year.

Inzamam said that Alam's name was discussed, but Iftikhar got the nod because of his all-round ability. "We did consider him [Alam] for the selection, but we have a packed middle order with Younis Khan, Misbah, Asad Shafiq, and we have an option of Iftikhar Ahmed who can bowl offspin from which we can have an edge against left-hand batsmen."

Sarfaraz Ahmed, whose fitness has been a major talking point, also made the cut despite a poor showing in the fitness tests, with Rizwan as a back-up option. Zulfiqar Babar was the second specialist spinner in the squad, and Wahab Riaz, who is playing county cricket for Essex, was also named. Given Wahab is already in England, he will miss the skills camp but join the squad directly in England should he make the final squad. Mohammad Amir, Rahat Ali, Imran Khan, Sohail Khan, Junaid Khan and Ehsan Adil are the other seam-bowling options.

Inzamam admitted that Pakistan were struggling to find genuine allrounders. "Since Abdul Razzaq and Azhar Mahmood, we haven't found a real allrounder who can come and can maintain the balance of the team. But still we can make an XI without an allrounder," he said.

The list of 22 players will be trimmed to 16 next month.

The selectors also named the final squad for the A team's tour of England for the tri-series also involving the hosts and Sri Lanka A. Opener Sharjeel Khan, seam-bowling allrounder Bilawal Bhatti, and left-arm spinning allrounder Mohammad Nawaz made the cut. The players chosen for the A squad will also attend the skills camp with the Test probables.

Batsman Haris Sohail and left-arm spinner Imad Wasim were left out of both squads because of injuries.

Pakistan's probables for the England tour
Openers: Mohammad Hafeez (subject to fitness), Sami Aslam, Shan Masood, Khurram Manzoor
Middle-order batsmen: Azhar Ali, Younis Khan, Misbah ul Haq, Asad Shafiq, Iftikhar Ahmed, Asif Zakir, Akbar-ur-Rehman
Seamers: Mohammad Amir, Rahat Ali, Imran Khan, Sohail Khan, Junaid Khan, Ehsan Adil, Wahab Riaz
Spinners: Yasir Shah (subject to fitness), Zulfiqar Babar
Wicketkeepers: Sarfraz Ahmed, Mohammad Rizwan

Pakistan A players for the tri-series
Openers: Sharjeel Khan, Farukh Zaman, Jahid Ali
Middle-order batsmen: Saud Shakil, Babar Azam, Umer Siddique, Abdur Rehman Muzammil
Allrounders: Mohammad Nawaz
Seamers: Hasan Ali, Mir Hamza, Mohammad Abbas, Azeez Ullah, Bilawal Bhatti
Spinners: Mohammad Asghar, Shadab Khan

Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent. @kalson

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