Pakistan in Sri Lanka 2014 July 9, 2014

Hafeez dropped for SL Tests, Younis recalled for ODIs


Mohammad Hafeez has been dropped from Pakistan's Test squad for the forthcoming tour to Sri Lanka. The selectors have recalled Younis Khan to the ODI squad, while Umar Akmal, who last played Test in September 2011, has been called up for the longer format after nearly three years in place of Hafeez.

Hafeez has been struggling in Test cricket and was dropped from the squad for the South Africa series in the UAE last year. However, he was recalled for the Tests against Sri Lanka and scored 113 runs in two games, including a fifty, after which he was dropped for the final Test of the series. In five Tests against South Africa and Zimbabwe in 2013, Hafeez had scored 102 in 10 innings. He fared poorly against the moving ball on Pakistan's tour to South Africa and struggled against their pace attack.

Younis, a regular in the Test team, last played an ODI for Pakistan in March 2013 and has been handed a chance in place of Asad Shafiq. Younis had recently stated that he wanted to revive his ODI career before the 2015 World Cup and aimed to retire on his own terms rather than be dropped for good by the selectors. Shafiq, meanwhile, has been retained in the Test team.

Najam Sethi, then Chairman of the PCB, had pressed for Younis' inclusion*. "Younis is a popular player and there is huge demand for his inclusion in the one-day side which is why I told the selectors and management he should be in the side for Sri Lanka."

Younis acknowledged the faith from the administration and hoped to live up to it. "I am looking at this positively and I will try to not let down either the chairman, the selectors or team management with my performances in one-day matches in Sri Lanka," he told PTI.

With Mohammad Irfan out due to fitness issues, Pakistan's fast-bowling attack will be led by Junaid Khan. Irfan is expected to return to limited-overs cricket this year, ahead of the 2015 World Cup. Umar Gul was ruled out after aggravating a knee injury recently. He insisted he was fit for the shorter formats but the selectors have refrained from picking him and have asked him to rest.

Left-arm pace bowler Wahab Riaz, who last played a Test in 2011 against West Indies, has replaced Gul in the squad. Riaz's last ODI for Pakistan was in November last year and he has not established a regular place in the side due to inconsistent performances. He was also recently fined Rs. 500,000 (approximately $5000) by the PCB for playing disapproved cricket in the United States. However, Riaz was among the fittest players during a month-long training camp in May and this was a significant factor in his inclusion.

The selectors have ignored wicketkeeper Adnan Akmal despite his recovery from a finger injury, opting instead to back Sarfraz Ahmed, whose quickfire 49 helped Pakistan pull off an astonishing chase in the Sharjah Test against Sri Lanka. Allrounder Bilawal Bhatti has been axed to fit fast bowler Mohammad Talha in both the teams.

Pakistan will play two Tests in Galle and Colombo from August 6 and 14 respectively before the teams play a three-match ODI series between August 23 and 30.

Test squad: Ahmed Shehzad, Khurram Manzoor, Shan Masood, Azhar Ali, Younis Khan, Misbah-ul-Haq (capt), Asad Shafiq, Umar Akmal, Sarfraz Ahmed (wk), Saeed Ajmal, Abdur Rehman, Mohammad Talha, Junaid Khan, Rahat Ali, Wahab Riaz

ODI squad: Ahmed Shehzad, Sharjeel Khan, Mohammad Hafeez, Misbah-ul-Haq (capt), Younis Khan, Umar Akmal, Fawad Alam, Sohaib Maqsood, Shahid Afridi, Anwar Ali, Saeed Ajmal, Junaid Khan, Mohammad Talha, Wahab Riaz, Zulfiqar Babar

*This story has been updated with Najam Sethi's support for Younis Khan on Thursday

Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent. @kalson

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Danish on July 15, 2014, 22:42 GMT

    i am really disappointed that Fawad Alam is yet again NOT included in the test side.Najam Sethi's comment is childish.."He is popular thats why he's included"..What?are you serious? I mean I am thrilled that Younis khan is back in the ODI team and i think he is a great player but this reason is so stupid.Just say that he is the best batsman available right now, to pakistan!Thats the truth! If we keep going on popularity then mark my words, afridi will still be playing at the age of 50 which isnt that far away from the look of things.Misbah is almost 50 too isnt he?

  • Syed on July 14, 2014, 16:46 GMT

    Good to see Umar Akmal back in test squad. He is a genuine player with potential and talent.

  • Dummy4 on July 14, 2014, 12:49 GMT

    I Think Fawad Alam will be a better choice than umer akmal to replace hafeez in test matches

  • Dummy4 on July 13, 2014, 14:03 GMT

    Pakistan A country obsessed with speed. Thats why Rahat ahead of Sadaf.

  • Android on July 11, 2014, 15:14 GMT

    and younas is the best middle order playet

  • Android on July 11, 2014, 15:13 GMT

    its a good decision

  • Khalid on July 11, 2014, 8:43 GMT

    Can we not find a better bowler in Pakistan than Junaid Khan, he is good, but is not really electrifying is he? Also any update on the captaincy of the T20?

  • ESPN on July 11, 2014, 4:05 GMT

    Experiment with the lineups is the key for Pakistan Keep Nasir jamshed sharjeel khan and ahmed shehzad all in contention for opening with equal opportunities till WC Make hafeez an option of number 6 before afridi Promote sohaib to Num 3 misbah at 4 and umer akmal at 5 to utilize them We need Umer gul M Irfan and junaid khan fit for every game with Talha and Wahab as replacements as in Nzl and Aus we need all fast bowling attack Nasir/sharjeel, ahmed, sohaib/younis, misbah, umer akmal, hafeez, afridi, gul, ajmal, junaid, Irfan If hafeez or afridi fails, bring a specialist batsman at his place and 5 bowling options wouls still be prevalent. Ajmal is a must on every pitch This team combination can defeat any team in any circumstances

  • Hamza on July 11, 2014, 1:30 GMT

    and even Hafeez why play on No 3 place we have a better No 3 Player which is Sohaib Maqsood whos Avg is more then 50 at no 3 so why he are wasted him. i request to our captain thought about it.

  • Hamza on July 11, 2014, 1:26 GMT

    There is no place for Asad Shafiq and Rahat Ali in test matches and where is muhammad irfan in odies ?????????????????????????????????????

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