Kamran Akmal and Shoaib Malik have been omitted from a pool of 36 probables who will take part in a month-long summer camp at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore starting on May 6. Pakistan's new selection committee recalled Taufeeq Umar and Yasir Hameed for the camp and the focus is on preparing for upcoming tours and the 2015 World Cup.
The camp will be supervised by the coaching staff of the National Cricket Academy, headed by Mohammad Akram, as the PCB is currently hunting for national coaches. Fast bowler Junaid Khan and offspinner Saeed Ajmal will not attend the camp due to their county commitments in England.
Pakistan are set to play seven Tests, 13 ODIs and two T20s in the next 10 months. However, with the next international series three months away, the PCB was concerned about the long layoff. The gap was originally seven months, before the PCB managed to strike a deal for a short tour of Sri Lanka in August. Pakistan will then host Australia and New Zealand from October to December in the UAE.
"We will have 36 players for the first phase of the training camp," chief selector Moin Khan said at the National Stadium in Karachi. "The World Cup (2015) is the ultimate goal as we have to prepare for that on a day to day basis. We are planning for the whole year so we need players who can survive with their fitness, as it has been a concern. We have to keep a zero tolerance on fitness."
The notable omissions of wicketkeeper Kamran and allrounder Malik were not surprising, after their dismissal performances in the recent World T20 in Bangladesh. Both were selected for the tournament despite being in ordinary form. Kamran managed only 48 runs in four outings while Malik scored only 52 runs in four innings and wasn't used as a bowler. Moin, however, said it wasn't the end of the road for both players.
"The recent performances by Shoaib and Kamran were not satisfactory but the doors aren't shut on them. Given the age factor (as both are 32) we have older players who are fit and performing so there is always a chance for a comeback. They are still in contention and with the upcoming (domestic) season they have to perform well to win back the selectors' faith."
Taufeeq, 32, had been out of contention since pulling out of the South Africa tour last year due to a leg injury. Among the current lot of Pakistan openers, he has the highest average (38.72) after Saeed Anwar (47.10) and has scored more runs than any other opener since 2001. Hameed, 36, made his debut in 2003 and was a regular member of the team for the next four years. He was dropped, then recalled for the tour of England in 2010 before being ignored again.
Openers: Ahmed Shehzad, Nasir Jamshed, Shan Masood, Imran Farhat, Yasir Hameed, Khurram Manzoor, Taufeeq Umar, Sharjeel Khan
Middle order: Misbah-ul-Haq, Asad Shafiq, Younis Khan, Umar Akmal, Azhar Ali, Faisal Iqbal, Sohaib Maqsood, Haris Sohail, Fawad Alam
Allrounders: Shahid Afridi, Mohammad Hafeez, Anwar Ali, Bilawal Bhatti
Spinners: Abdur Rehman, Zulfiqar Babar, Raza Hasan, Atif Maqbool, Yasir Shah
Fast bowlers: Umar Gul, Mohammad Talha, Ehsan Adil, Mohammad Irfan, Wahab Riaz, Rahat Ali, Sohail Tanvir, Mohammad Sami
Wicketkeepers: Adnan Akmal, Sarfaraz Ahmed