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November 9, 2010
Wicketkeeper Adnan Akmal, brother of Kamran and Umar, has been added to the Pakistan squad for the two-Test series against South Africa, along with allrounder Mohammad Hafeez. Younis Khan was retained in the side following his performances in the ODI series - he scored two half-centuries in the five games - on his return to the side after the Pakistan Cricket Board overturned its ban on him. Sohail Tanvir, the unconventional left-arm seamer who was initially included subject to his fitness, has been left out.
Adnan was a replacement for Zulqarnain Haider, who left the team ahead of the final ODI in Dubai in mysterious circumstances and resurfaced in London. Haider has meanwhile announced his retirement from the game after receiving threats, the latest in a series of quick and bizarre developments. Hafeez was retained from the limited-overs leg of the tour following the PCB's decision to refuse Danish Kaneria clearance to join the team.
Adnan, 25, plays for Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy, Pakistan's premier first-class tournament. He made his first-class debut in 2003-04 and averages 22.78 in 72 matches with two centuries. He has been on the periphery of national selection over the last couple of years, but Kamran remained Pakistan's first-choice wicketkeeper until his recent run of inconsistency behind the wickets. Haider was originally picked for the UAE tour, but his sudden departure to London - after he reportedly received threats following his match-winning role in the penultimate one-dayer - left Pakistan without a wicketkeeper for the fifth ODI and the Tests. Umar stepped in for the fifth match, but the selectors decided to include a specialist for the Tests, giving Adnan his first international call-up.
Hafeez had featured prominently in Pakistan's limited-overs plans as an opening batsman and part-time offspinner. He was their leading run-scorer in the recently concluded one-day series, with 203 runs including two half-centuries. His inclusion in place of legspinner Kaneria suggested he may have been retained to beef up a spin attack that is thin on experience: Saeed Ajmal and Abdur Rehman, the main spinners in the squad, have a combined experience of ten Tests.
Kaneria was in the original squad named in October, and it is not clear whether the PCB's decision to exclude him had anything to do with their attempts - compelled by the ICC's warning last month - to put its house in order and tighten up against corruption. Kaneria was the subject of a criminal investigation through the summer by Essex police over allegations that he was involved in spot-fixing during a county game. The investigations had begun in May but Kaneria was cleared by police in September.
Squad: Imran Farhat, Taufeeq Umar, Asad Shafiq, Mohammad Yousuf, Younis Khan, Misbah-ul-Haq (capt), Umar Akmal, Azhar Ali, Saeed Ajmal, Mohammad Hafeez, Abdur Rehman, Adnan Akmal (wk), Umar Gul, Tanvir Ahmed, Mohammad Sami, Wahab Riaz.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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