Pakistan in West Indies 2013 July 3, 2013

Afridi, Umar Akmal recalled for West Indies tour


Shahid Afridi and Umar Akmal have been recalled to Pakistan's ODI and T20 squads for the limited-overs tour of the West Indies later this month. Two notable players who have been dropped from the Champions Trophy squad are wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal and allrounder Shoaib Malik.

Fast bowler Umar Gul, who last played in March during the South Africa tour, was sidelined again as he hadn't yet recovered from his knee surgery.

The ODI squad features the uncapped 21-year-old wicketkeeper Mohammad Rizwan, as a backup to Akmal, who was picked as the first-choice wicketkeeper. Ahmed Shehzad, the opening batsman, has been recalled to both squads. Zulfiqar Babar, 34, who has been part of the domestic circuit for more than ten years, figures in the T20 squad.

Pakistan were let down by their senior batsmen in the Champions Trophy in England as the side failed to pass 200 in their three games - the third match against India was rain-affected - only to be eliminated from the group stage. Malik managed just 25 runs in three matches, Kamran 23 and Farhat four in two. With the pitches in the West Indies expected to be slower, the selectors have gone with one less seamer, dropping Ehsan Adil.

Afridi had been dropped from the ODI squad twice in the last six months after hitting a slump with both bat and ball. He was first dropped for the one-day leg of the India tour in January before making a comeback in South Africa, but was left out again for the Champions Trophy. In the 21 ODIs since January 2012, Afridi has picked up 15 wickets at 57.13 and scored 308 runs at 19.25. He had been training at the National Cricket Academy in Lahore over the past couple of weeks, and passed the fitness test.

The captain Misbah-ul-Haq defended Afridi's inclusion but added that he wasn't necessarily an automatic selection in the XI. Misbah said Afridi was picked as an 'optional' allrounder who can bat at No.7 and bowl spin.

"He is an option who can help us on slower tracks (in the West Indies)," Misbah said when asked how difficult it was to pick an out-of-form player. "Malik was the one who had been helping us out with six to seven overs and was handy with the bat as well so Afridi has been recalled in place of Malik as an extra allrounder who can roll his arm on turning tracks and contribute quick runs at No.7.

"But it doesn't mean he is automatically in the XI. We first have to look at the conditions and then take a call. We are happy with the selection of 16 players and I will be ready to shoulder the responsibility of any result."

Umar Akmal was dropped from the Test side last year and was subsequently was axed from the ODI side this year. He had been working on his wicketkeeping skills at the NCA over the last two weeks under the coach Dav Whatmore. When asked if wicketkeeping would be an additional burden on him, chief selector Iqbal Qasim said that Umar Akmal was "comfortable with wicketkeeping and the decision had been taken with his consent."

"We have also added Mohammad Rizwan as a backup wicketkeeper but Umar will be doing most of the glove work and Rizwan will also be tried but it depends on the situation," Qasim said.

Umar Akmal has kept wicket in seven ODIs and the selectors have hinted at a short-term and experimental role, as his dual role could help the balance of the side.

Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Ibrar on July 8, 2013, 17:36 GMT

    All three very rightly dropped. Pakistan needs to give chance to some young blood. Bad performances of these players compelled the selectors to select out of form players like Umar Akmal.

  • Hammad on July 8, 2013, 3:29 GMT

    Here are my 2 cents. The inclusion of Shahzad, Rizwan, Umar Akmal, Haris Sohail and Hammad Azam is encouraging; bringing Afridi back is a step backwards. I'd rather have Hammad in both formats. Also, not sure why Raza Hasan is being overlooked in favor of a much older, and much less versatile Babar.

    Also, I'd love to see Sohail and Shahzad get a consistent run in the starting 11. Sohail has been in and out for a while, without even getting a look in. Its extremely unfortunate. I feel the kid deserves his debut and an extended run in the starting 11. Shahzad on the other hand has shown glimpses of what he can do, yet he has been discarded all too easily in the past. He reminds me of a young Sehwaq. I would also like to see Rizwan get the gloves. Umar Akmal is not a natural keeper. He is error prone, and these errors can impact him mentally. That might not bode well for his batting, when we already know he needs to get his head straight.

  • Dummy4 on July 7, 2013, 23:53 GMT

    this is where I don't get it why ahmed shahzad if Imran farhat is not working why go to try and test the same who have been tried before so much could be done with that position my team would be

    shahid afridi, nasir jamshed, hafeez, haris sohail, umar akmal, misbah, umar amin, saeed ajmal, abdur rehman, junaid, irfan

    its high time afridi comes to his natural place and lead and play if he wants to or shouldn't hide behind youngsters and slaughtering them he is an opener and he should open for Pakistan abdur rehman should be in the playing 11 so should umar amin if he is the medium pacer which I don't really think he is but he is what we have instead of the great razzaq would love to see haris sohail do well he is good we never got a middle order bat after asif mujtaba may be we played around with asim kamal but we never had the quality which mujtaba brought hope haris could be the answer great to see shafiq there too

  • Dummy4 on July 7, 2013, 21:27 GMT

    Misbah ul haq should be the first out of the side as he has been a very slow scoring player for quite a long time now and his poor defensive captaincy should not be seems as if he has memorized the number of overs per bowler and the order in which they are to bowl.He is the worst captain pakistan ever had .

  • Dummy4 on July 7, 2013, 9:17 GMT

    This is a good team if they had Shakeel Ansar in place of Mohammad Rizwan then is a aggressive team

  • Hakim on July 7, 2013, 7:34 GMT

    Hi my suggestion would be Drop Shahid afridi, Kamran Akmal & Shohaib Malik Forever as they all were (3 years back minimum)asset to PCB but Likes of ponting hussey gilchrist comes to end thn I guess there is no such calibre in them to be in team althought they are a bit young plz move on PCB

  • asad on July 5, 2013, 19:51 GMT

    My team for ODI: 1.Nasir Jamshed, 2.Ahmed Shehzad, 3.Umar Akmal, 4 and 5.Misbah-ul-haq/Shahid Afridi(Misbah comes in at 4 if 2 wickets lost before 70 runs if not then Afridi), 6.Harris Sohail/Asad Shafiq, 7.Mohammad Hafeez, 8.Wahab Riaz, 9.Saeed Ajmal, 10.Junaid Khan, 11. Mohammad Irfan/Asad Ali

    I didnt put Hafeez in the top 4 because I've noticed him struggling against quality fast bowlers (Bhuvneshwar in India, Steyn in SA). If he comes in a bit later then he will have to face spinners and he plays spinners pretty well.

  • asad on July 5, 2013, 19:37 GMT

    I think some criticism against Afridi and Misbah is wrong. Afridi, in my opinion, has a lot of potential as a bowler (top wicket taker in 2011 WC) and as a batsman but seriously lacks consistency. I think he is a better captain then Misbah cuz his good performances boost the moral of the team and he has more aggressive fields and uses players to their strengths. Misbah is a good batsman and the most consistent as well but he plays slowly because of the mess that the top order has created before he comes in. I'm not a fan of his captaincy in ODIs because he has a defensive approach to fielding, bowling and batting. With Misbah as captain older players may make it back to the team again and again but as a batsman he is very useful cuz he stops the flow of wickets. I think Afridi's selection is better then most people might think especially cuz he's way better then Malik.

  • asad on July 5, 2013, 19:23 GMT

    I like the squads that are picked enough young talent in both squads but I have a problem with Tanvir being selected over Umar Gul in t20s and Wahab being selected over Gul in odis. It makes sense if Gul is still injured but if he's alright now then Gul is way better then these two just look at the SA t20 a few months ago. Abdur Rehman's selection in the odi squad is also weird cuz Ajmal is always picked over him for the playing 11. They could have brought Raza Hassan instead even is Raza doesn't get a game he would get to learn from the world's best spinner. I am expecting a better batting performance from Hafeez cuz he failed in batting just like the other 3 and i'm pretty sure he's only in the team cuz of his useful bowling. Other then that there is enough aggressive batsmen in the team now to put up a score of 250+.

  • zaf on July 5, 2013, 16:25 GMT

    HOPE this will be last chance for UMAR AKMAL. PCB should select good WKPR Batsman from Karachi zone.