Younis, Gul dropped from ODI squad
Pakistan have dropped seniors Younis Khan and Umar Gul from the one-day squad for the three-match series against Australia in the UAE later this month. Kamran Akmal, who was recalled for the Twenty20s, also made it to the one-day leg of the tour and the other notable inclusion is Junaid Khan, the left-arm fast bowler who had an impressive Test series in Sri Lanka recently. Anwar Ali, the fast bowler who has played one Twenty20 international back in 2008, is the only relatively new face in the team.
Gul, Pakistan's strike seam bowler, was selected for the Twenty20s but ignored for the ODIs. He had a disappointing tour of Sri Lanka, taking only four wickets in five games. Younis was out of sorts throughout the series, scoring just five runs in four games.
Iqbal Qasim, Pakistan's chief selector, said both were dropped for the sake of rest.
"For a while Gul and Younis have been struggling and they have been dropped only to give them a break," Qasim told ESPNcricinfo. "Both have contributed a lot for Pakistan and we need them to be fresh ahead of the busy schedule. They desperately need a break to mange their workload."
The selectors also ignored the unpredictable seamer Mohammad Sami, who played two one-dayers but was expensive in the fifth match in Colombo, leaking 75 runs in a thrilling encounter. Rahat Ali, the rookie left-arm seamer, was also left out after getting just one opportunity.
"The selectors have decided to drop Rahat Ali, who needs more grooming and he is a future prospect, while Anwar Ali has been in the pipeline for quite a long time," Qasim said. "He has been included to get some confidence and much-needed exposure."
The allrounder Shoaib Malik also gets a recall, after being ignored for the one-dayers in Sri Lanka. Malik played an ODI in February this year against England. Kamran Akmal's inclusion was on expected lines after he was named in the Twenty20 squad for the UAE tour and the World Twenty20 next month in Sri Lanka. He last played an ODI during the 2011 World Cup. Pakistan selected three wicketkeepers - one for each format - in Sri Lanka, picking Shakeel Ansar and Sarfraz Ahmed for the Twenty20s and ODIs respectively. Both were left out in favour of Akmal.
"Akmal is our first-choice as wicketkeeper-batsman for limited-overs cricket mainly because of his assured batting skills," Qasim said. "So drafting him in the ODI squad could help him gain more confidence ahead of the World T20."
Anwar made a name for himself during Pakistan's successful Under-19 World Cup campaign in Sri Lanka in 2006. He went wicketless in his only opportunity for Pakistan, against Zimbabwe in Canada. He is also a handy lower-order batsman, with a first-class century to his name.
However, the squad lacks an experienced seamer, with Abdul Razzaq too missing out, despite making the Twenty20 squad. Hammad Azam, rated highly by the likes of Ramiz Raja (the former Pakistan captain) as an allrounder with potential, was ignored yet again.
"Pakistan have been relying more on spin bowling, and in view of the pitches and conditions in the UAE, the onus will be on spinners," Qasim said.
Additional reporting by Umar Farooq