Champions Trophy 2013 April 29, 2013

Pakistan drop Afridi, Umar Akmal


Shahid Afridi, the Pakistan allrounder, middle-order batsman Umar Akmal and fast bowler Sohail Tanvir have been left out of the ODI squad for the Champions Trophy in England this June. Fast bowlers Ehsan Adil and Asad Ali, and batsman Umar Amin, were selected, after they had been omitted from the tour of South Africa.

Pakistan's selectors met in Lahore on Monday to trim the 29 probables - Umar Gul was unavailable because of injury - down to 15 for the Champions Trophy, as well as the ODIs in Ireland and Scotland. The announcement of a Pakistan squad is usually made before 7pm (PKT) but the selection committee did not emerge until at 10.45pm after getting the approval Zaka Ashraf, the PCB chairman, at the National Cricket Academy in Lahore.

"Afridi had been selected as a bowling allrounder but he was not up to the mark and couldn't score at crucial occasions so we had to left him out," chief selector Iqbal Qasim said. "His career is not finished, if he performs at domestic level, he can stage a comeback. He is an asset to Pakistan, and as long as a player is performing he keeps on playing, if he doesn't perform he goes out of the team."

Afridi had been dropped from Pakistan's squad for the ODI series in India in December 2012, but was chosen for the trip to South Africa because of his skill as a legspinner. He failed to take a wicket in 37 overs, though, and scored 126 runs in four innings with a high score of 88. Since the start of 2012, Afridi's taken only 15 wickets in 21 ODIs, and five of those came in one game against Afghanistan. His batting average during this period is 19.

"Had he scored at the domestic level he could have earned the place," Qasim said. "It's always difficult to drop such a senior player but ultimately selectors have to take a decision for the sake of the team."

Pakistan have named five specialist fast bowlers, two full-time spinners while Mohamamd Hafeez, Shoaib Malik and Amin fill the allrounder roles. Besides Afridi, Pakistan had already left out Younis Khan from the initial squad, but Wahab Riaz, the left-arm quick, has been retained despite a poor showing in South Africa.

Amin, a left-hander who also bowls right-arm medium pace, played four Tests and three ODIs in 2010 while Asad was selected for the India ODI series but did not it into the playing eleven.

"We have picked the squad from the best available resources after consulting the captain and the input from the coach," Qasim said. "There obviously were arguments but when the team is made, it's made with consensus."

Pakistan are in group B for the early stage of the tournament which includes the enticing prospect of a clash against India, plus matches against West Indies and South Africa. "Pakistan indeed has a tough pool but our team is good and has the ability to do well," Qasim said. "Pakistan always has a good record in the international events and I am hopeful that the players will play at their potential to produce good results."

The PCB also named Trent Woodhill, a former assistant coach of New Zealand, as their batting coach for three weeks during the tournament in England.

The squad will now train in Abbotabad from May 3 to 9 before departing for Scotland.

Squad: Mohammad Hafeez, Imran Farhat, Nasir Jamshed, Kamran Akmal, Misbah ul Haq (capt), Shoaib Malik, Asad Shafiq, Saeed Ajmal, Junaid Khan, Mohammad Irfan, Asad Ali, Wahab Riaz, Umar Amin, Abdur Rehman, Ehsan Adil

Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Nirjhar on May 6, 2013, 20:49 GMT

    While Indian, I really admire the talent Pakistan produces. Without Afridi, Younis and Umar Akmal who are great players, the Pak team looks quite strong and capable of beating any side.

    I think cohesiveness and recent form are very important in selection. Afridi has won many matches for Pakistan but his recent form has been poor, similarly for Umar Akmal.

    Good to see fresh faces, hope Nasir Jamshed misses out against India and stops his ODI century spree!!

  • Kashir on May 6, 2013, 10:43 GMT

    I am wondering why the selectors just give a chance to Abdul Razzaq. He is such a good player, has been around for such long time, If the selectors can give the same chances to Razzaq, they had been giving Afiridi, I am sure the result would have been different. He can bowl and bat well, great hitter of ball, and also play on any batting number. Why the selectors are sticking with Shohaib Malik, why the selectors are giving me so many chances? Just can not understand.

  • shaikh on May 6, 2013, 9:20 GMT

    its too unfortunate to see that umar akmal is being treated by pcb like this.its painfully retarded.the squad which is announced by the pakistani selectors is full of the same old faces which have been around since last 12/13 years. one must have to scratch his head to figure it out that what the hell players like shoaib malik,misbah ul haq and imran farhat are doing in the playing eleven. shoaib malik has been around since 1999 and in last 14 years i couldn't figure out that if he is a batsman,a bowler or a wicket keeper. imran farhat is a perfect example of the powerful influence which has coiled around pakistan cricket like a cobra since day one. misbah's criceting days had been over ages back but he is still sticking with the team like a glue. pakistan cricket is not gonna flourish until some one takes a bold step and start cleaning all this dirt. with this team which got chosen on the basis of dirty politics and not by pure merit,i don't see no chance of to win this event.

  • Dummy4 on May 5, 2013, 22:42 GMT

    TMuhammad! Firdaous Ashiq Awan is gone so no more back up for Malik. Dropping U.AKMAL is a right decision because he plays for his brother not for his team. Pakistan needs batsmen not bowler. I am not too hopeful for this series.

  • Dummy4 on May 4, 2013, 22:27 GMT

    Quite shocking to see the treatment meted out to Umar Akmal - one of the huge talents in the international scene. He should definitely have been in the team in place of either Umar Amin or the highly overrated Imran Farhat.

  • Taqi on May 4, 2013, 21:41 GMT

    People asking as why selector have selected less batsmen, answer is very simple, its just to accommodate Shoaib Malik in every game no matter he scores or not. Pakistan will be playing (looking at past matches) 1-Hafeez,2 Nasir/ I. Farhat, 3-Asad Shafiq, 4- Misbah, 5- Shoaib Malik, 6- Umar Ameen, 7- Ajmal, 8- Junaid, 9 Irfan, 10- Wahab Riaz11 Abdur Rehman/ Asad/ Ehsan Adil. I am surprised as people saying Umar Ameen is an alrounder? In all his 72 first class matches he has taken 24 wkts and his 65 list A matches could give him 11 wkts. The young Al- rounder who needs grooming is Anwar Ali in his 75 first class matches he has taken 275 wkts with scoring 1573 runs (1, 100 and 4, 50s). He was the hero of a world cup final taking 5/35 runs. ( you can see his bowling performance on this match on net). Pls also look performances of Azhar Ali, Khurram Manzoor, Haris Sohail and Sharjeel Khan ( if you do not like Younus, Azhar Ali and Afridi though they are badly needed in England).

  • Dummy4 on May 4, 2013, 21:02 GMT

    O Common! Batting line is still weak. Intekhaab Aalam needs to learn how to do the right Intekhaab(Since the meaning of his own name is selection). Guys! We are going to play the MEN's champion trophy not the womens and i still believe that our batting line is not impressive.

  • asad on May 4, 2013, 20:26 GMT

    I think some people are being too critical. If u look at the bright side Pakistan is finally thinking about the future and have given young players a chance. 9 of the 15 players in the squad are 30 or under (with Umar Akmal it would have been 10). From the six who are over 30 there is Hafeez, Ajmal, Misbah and Rehman (some of the best in Pak team). So if Pakistan make good desicions and possibly move malik up the order and keep Misbah at no.4 or 5 then it actually isn't such a bad team. Most of these 9 players who are 30 or under will probably play in the 2015 world cup and this will be a good time for them to get experience. I think pakistan could have included Razaq and Umar Akmal in this team to make the team better.

  • Syed Tanveer on May 3, 2013, 18:17 GMT

    Umar Akmal !!!! What a great talent to waste by pakistan.... I still remember kholi and akmal start their career same time and everyone had high hopes with akmal to be a backbone of pakistan..... If the cricketer need to be drop and perform in domestic cricket and over come all the errors and mental strength then what's the point to appoint a coach in a team who cannot fine tune a player who has already go the talent.... Coaches are getting healthy amount just to give burden on player to perform well all the time..... I hate to see that umar akmal is getting wastes the way we have wasted Imran nazir... Ahmed Shazad , razzaq, and many more..... Coaches are good for nothing..... Pakistan should include Afridi and akmal for big tournament if they wanted to made them comeback then they should be out in normal tour like South Africa tour but should atleast give one chance to akmal in whole tour in South Africa before eliminate him..... Poor selection. No match winner in current squad....

  • Dummy4 on May 2, 2013, 16:02 GMT

    I applaud the selectors for being positive and taking steps to drop some players who have failed for number of years in ODI such as Afridi and Yunus. If I had been in their shoes I would have been even more bold but I suppose you cannot make sweeping changes overnight. In my opinion the Champions Trophy is a last chance for players like Hafeez, Farhat, Kamran and Shoaib. If they fail to perform then it is time for selectors to bid them farewell as well. There are other players such as Misbah, Ajmal and Rehman who are not likely to play for TEAM PAKISTAN for long because of their age. In the case of Shafiq I am not convinced he is an ODI player and I have concern over Irfan's fitness. This leaves number of spaces for new or discarded players to be considered for the ODI squad in the future. I would have liked to have seen Azhar and Umar in the squad as I rate both of them highly. In fact I see Azhar as future Pakistan captain. Umar Gul will also return to the ODI squad once fit.