Akhtar returns after proving fitness August 7, 2007

Yousuf and Razzaq omitted from Twenty20



Fawad Alam, who had a phenomenal domestic Twenty20 tournament last year that included a half-century and a five-wicket haul in the final, has been included © Faras Ghani

Mohammad Yousuf and Abdul Razzaq have been omitted from the 15-man squad for the Twenty20 World Championship in South Africa.

Misbah-ul-Haq, back in the side after three years in the wilderness, and Fawad Alam, the talented young allrounder, have been chosen as replacements while left-arm spinner Abdur Rehman, who took a hat-trick in the last of the practice matches in Karachi, also makes a comeback.

"Mohammad Yousuf is a world-class player. However, we have decided to give him a break because we want him fit and fresh for the following series and include some new faces for the South Africa tour," Salahuddin Ahmed, chief selector, said.

Yousuf was not disappointed at being left out of the team and was confident that it would not affect his long-term future. "Selection was in God's hands and I can't force myself into the team." When asked if he felt he could perform in this format of the game, Yousuf said: "You will have to ask the selectors".

While Misbah has not represented Pakistan for over three years, his record in the shortest version of the game, including an unbeaten century, impressed the selectors. Alam also had a phenomenal domestic Twenty20 tournament last year that included a half- century and a five-wicket haul in the final.

Shoaib Akhtar, who left the field during one of the practice matches due to dehydration and missed the following matches due to a neck strain, has been included in the lineup. "I can assure you that Shoaib Akhtar has recovered from the neck strain and is now fully fit."

The other notable absentees include Mohammad Sami and Yasir Hameed. While Sami's performance has improved of late, Yasir Arafat, who has had an impressive season with Kent, was preferred. "We have noted Sami's performance recently and decided to omit him and bring in Yasir Arafat, the allrounder, in the team at the back of his impressive performance for Kent."

Pakistan kick off their campaign against Scotland on September 13.

Squad: Shoaib Malik (capt), Younis Khan, Imran Nazir, Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif, Shoaib Akthar, Kamran Akmal, Mohammad Hafeez, Umar Gul, Shahid Afridi, Iftikhar Anjum, Fawad Alam, Abdur Rehman, Yasir Arafat, Misbah-ul-Haq

Faras Ghani is an editorial assistant on Cricinfo

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