Azeem Ghumman to lead Pakistan A
Azeem Ghumman will captain Pakistan A for the forthcoming tour of Sri Lanka between August 20 and September 18. The 15-member squad also includes discarded opening batsman Khurram Manzoor and the promising fast bowler Mohammad Irfan. Ghumman led Pakistan in the recent Under-19 World Cup in New Zealand, where they finished runners-up.
Surprisingly, there is no place in the squad for wicketkeeper Sarfraz Ahmed, who was until recently Pakistan's first-choice back-up to Kamran Akmal. Sarfraz made his Test debut earlier this year in Hobart against Australia and despite a safe performance behind the stumps has been edged out of national contention altogether.
The tour begins with a one-day tri-series also involving South Africa A between August 24 and September 6. Pakistan will then stay back and play two four-day games against the hosts.
"Our concentration is on young blood and it is high time for us to bring in the new boys," Mohsin Khan, chief selector, told Express Tribune. "And the tour to Sri Lanka is very important for our A team because the top players can be picked up for the national squad.
"My effort has been to prepare a quick backup for the national team. We have already selected four new faces in the ongoing England tour. In order to sustain the same custom, these young players will be added in the 15-man squad that will also include some veterans."
According to a report in Dawn, the selection has been made without the input of one selector, however: Saleem Jaffer. The former left-arm fast bowler, part of the selection committee for over three years, has gradually been nudged out over the last month following a disagreement with the chief selector over the manner in which the squad for England was chosen.
Jaffer's contract, due to expire on July 31, will not be renewed and he said he was surprised at not being consulted over the selection and a letter from the board indicating the end of his tenure.
"I was shocked for not being invited in the meeting, and shocked further as the letter doesn't contain any reason why I am not able to get the extension," Jaffer told Dawn.
In three years, Jaffer worked under four different chief selectors -- Salahuddin Ahmed, Abdul Qadir, Iqbal Qasim and Mohsin, the current chairman.
Pakistan A: Azeem Ghumman (capt), Khurram Manzoor, Abid Ali, Asad Shafiq, Aamer Sajjad, Sheharyar Ghani, Naved Yasin, Hammad Azam, Naeem Anjum (wk), Zulfiqar Babar, Yasir Shah, Mohammad Talha, Mohammad Irfan, Junaid Khan, Tabish Khan
Reserves: Rameez Alam, Arun Lal, Umair Khan, Mohammad Rameez, Raza Hasan, Adnan Akmal