World Cup 2015 December 6, 2014

Ajmal, Malik in Pakistan's preliminary WC squad

Saeed Ajmal could catch the World Cup bus if he gets his action cleared © AFP

The suspended Saeed Ajmal has been included in Pakistan's 30-member provisional squad for the World Cup. However, his inclusion in the final 15 will be subject to him clearing his bowling action. The PCB is yet to plan a date for his official ICC bowling assessment.

The list also includes allrounder Shoaib Malik and wicketkeeper-batsman Kamran Akmal, both of whom have been out of the ODI side for the last 18 months, since featuring in the 2013 Champions Trophy. Kamran has been averaging 59.08 in the current first-class season and is third most-prolific scorer after nine rounds, while Malik's form has fluctuated; he has scored 385 runs in seven matches and picked up 18 wickets for his new team ZTBL.

"At the moment, winning or losing aside, team Pakistan is performing adequately well in all three formats of the game," Moin Khan, the chief selector, said in a statement. "The belief in the think tank is that the squad holds immense potential and promise to perform in any conditions. The most positive aspect is that some of our foremost proven talents have overcome physical issues and are raring to be given an opportunity to have a tilt at the global honours."

"In our assessment, by the time the five 50-over games in the UAE, the away short ODI series against New Zealand as well as the practice games are over in the next two months, Pakistan will be close to hitting its peak."

The fast-bowling group - Mohammad Irfan, Junaid Khan, Wahab Riaz and Umar Gul, who have been grappling with injury issues in the recent past - are expected to be automatic choices for the final 15.

"For me personally, the 1992 World Cup victory ranks amongst our greatest cricketing achievements," said Moin, who was also the part of the winning XI when Pakistan won the 1992 World Cup in Australia. "I am positive that the present outfit too has the capacity to replicate that triumph Down Under."

The final squad will be decided during the domestic one-day pentangular cup in Karachi in the first week of January. Pakistan are scheduled to play their opening World Cup match in Adelaide on February 15, against arch-rivals India.

Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent. @kalson

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