Pakistan in Zimbabwe 2011 July 28, 2011

Raja, Cheema, Sohail included in squad for Zimbabwe

ESPNcricinfo staff

Pakistan have rewarded some of their consistent performers in domestic cricket by including three uncapped players - top-order batsman Rameez Raja, legspinner Yasir Shah and seamer Aizaz Cheema - as well as fast bowler Sohail Khan, who has played only one Test, in the squad for the tour of Zimbabwe that starts on August 28. There are also recalls for opening batsman Imran Farhat, who hasn't played for Pakistan since the one-day series against South Africa in the UAE in October 2010, and left-arm fast bowler Sohail Tanvir, who was last included for the New Zealand tour earlier in the year.

The squad seems to be an experimental one, with the bowling attack in particular featuring several new names and missing some of the senior players. Umar Gul, Tanvir Ahmed and Wahab Riaz, who have been Pakistan's three premier fast bowlers in recent times, have all been rested, with Sohail Khan, Sohail Tanvir, Cheema and Junaid Khan making up the pace attack. There is also a change in the spin department with Abdur Rehman being rested and Yasir being given an opportunity.

Pakistan's chief selector Mohsin Khan explained that the fresh look to the squad was an effort to blood youngsters. "We have to bring in young players along with seniors so that they could be groomed," he said. "Because it's a short tour we have selected only one squad for all three formats of the game and have rested Riaz and Gul in a hope to try out some youngsters."

Adnan Akmal has reclaimed the wicketkeeper's spot in the squad, meaning Mohammad Salman, who failed to impress with the bat in the West Indies and Ireland, makes way. Allrounder Hammad Azam also failed to have an impact on those tours and has been kept in the standbys to make place for Raja. Ahmed Shehzad, who was dropped after the tour of the West Indies, has been left out again.

Another development is the inclusion of Shoaib Malik, the former Pakistan captain, in the list of standbys. Malik has been involved in a battle with the PCB, whose integrity committee has not cleared him for selection since the controversial tour of England last year. Mohsin said Malik would only be included if he managed to obtain clearance from the PCB. Meanwhile, legspinner Danish Kaneria, who has taken his fight to get clearance to the Sindh High Court, continues to be ignored.

Raja's call-up comes on the back of consistent domestic performance in all formats. He was the leading run-getter in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy Division One last season, and was top of the run charts again during the recent Faysal Bank Super Eight Twenty20 Cup. His performances in the T20 competition, which included a 97 in the semi-final and a half-century in the final, led to calls for his inclusion in the national side.

Sohail Khan, Sohail Tanvir and Cheema were all recently part of an emerging players camp at the National Cricket Academy in Lahore, where they received tips from former Pakistan fast bowler Sarfraz Nawaz. Sohail Khan and Sohail Tanvir both brought themselves back into the limelight during the Super Eight Twenty20 competition; the former took 14 wickets in Karachi Dolphins' road to the finals, while the latter captained Rawalpindi Rams to the title. Cheema, 31, earned his call-up through another strong first-class season in which he took 57 wickets in eight games in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy.

Yasir impressed with his 16 wickets in four games during the Faysal Bank Pentangular Cup at the beginning of this year, and then took 3 for 29 for Pakistan A against Afghanistan in a one-dayer. Farhat also did well in the Pentangular, hitting a century and two fifties, and was leading run-getter in the domestic one-day competition before that.

Pakistan squad: Misbah-ul-Haq (capt), Mohammad Hafeez, Taufiq Umar, Imran Farhat, Azhar Ali, Younis Khan, Asad Shafiq, Umar Akmal, Rameez Raja junior, Adnan Akmal (wk), Saeed Ajmal, Yasir Shah, Sohail Tanvir, Sohail Khan, Junaid Khan, Aizaz Cheema.

Standbys: Sarfraz Ahmed (wk), Khurram Manzoor, Sharjeel Khan, Mohammad Talha, Hammad Azam, Shoaib Malik (subject to clearance from PCB integrity committee)

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Aamir on July 31, 2011, 15:14 GMT

    @Ahsan_Shere Mohammad Salman is an alright wicketkeeper but he doesn't even know how to bat and managed to hit a 6 with the worst technique I have seen. Adnan Akmal is possibly the best WK in the Akmal brothers I pressume? He still hasnt shown his talent in batting though but I do hope he does soon. The only reason why people are against Younis Khan is of his poor performance against India but overall he is a neccessary player who plays somewhat plays like Rahul Dravid but better.

  • Ahsan on July 31, 2011, 10:08 GMT

    I can't believe some are against Younis khan's inclusion. Just tell me is there any player other than Yousuf have a better Test average than him in near future even better than Inzamam's. For limited overs (ODIs), no man available has more runs to his name than Younis has.

  • Ahsan on July 31, 2011, 9:54 GMT

    Where is Muhammad Salman? Why Hammad Azam in standbys? Ok you want to test your in-line bowlers but why giving rest to 3 bowlers; isn't it too much? Why they included Imran Farhat, Aizaz Cheema? Don't we have a clear example of Marcus Trescothick? Once he was sacked from international side they never look back to him just because its no mean spending on players who can't benefit you for more than 5 years or so, despite the fact that he is the most consistent than any other opener of the English County. Why don't PCB give proper run to players? Why always they judge on one or two series performances. Even player of Sanath Jayasuria's class didn't manage 20 runs in his first 10 innings......

  • Aamir on July 31, 2011, 9:52 GMT

    Thank you everyone for tellign me about the issue with Imran Nazir. But I do hope Afridi comes back to play for Pakistan after the Big Bash tournament in Australia. Does anyone think he will come back?

  • Amjad on July 31, 2011, 6:58 GMT

    @ mso797 - Yes, correct (Jamal Anwar) was the wicket keeper & he is a very good batsman. A better batsman than Adnan Akmal & a better keeper than Umar Akmal. Not sure if he is better than Sarfaraz ... This young talent should be given chance & i agree with my other friends here - Imran Nazir should have been included.

  • Musarrat on July 31, 2011, 5:42 GMT

    Only thing was missed in the squad was Manssor Amjad (Leg Spinner & can bat Bat is well).. Bob Woolmer rated him the 2nd best Leg spinner in the country so it is disappointing as for as me concern, he only played on T20 against Bangladesh and 3-3 in Just one overs, and have one ODI is well both matches in 2008 so he needs some more chances for sure..

  • zain on July 30, 2011, 20:40 GMT

    @I. F. Butt what about asad shafiq

  • zain on July 30, 2011, 20:38 GMT

    @zork.amjad jamal anwar personally he and sarfraz are equally good

    sarfraz for odi (possibly tests) is anwar becomes consistent then he should battle with sarfraz for odi wicket keeper spot

    adnan best wicket keeper in pakistan for test but not the best of batsmen

    jamal could play t20 bu really umer akmal could keep in t20

  • Dummy4 on July 30, 2011, 19:46 GMT

    imran nazir ....should be there!!!!

  • Dummy4 on July 30, 2011, 18:40 GMT

    It is sad But it must be said. The way Bangladesh is setting themselves up do not be surprised if they overtake Pakistan. They are building themselves up around a young 24 year old captain and they are getting younger. Why would we get Cheema who is 31 and has never played an international match before? BAD SELECTIONS: YOUNIS, FARHAT, RAMEEZ RAJA, SOHAIL TANVIR, AIZAZ CHEEMA. We really want to see young talent. Not some rich people's sons who have no fire and ability.

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