When Inzamam-ul-Haq was appointed Chief Selector of Pakistan, there were plenty of expectations from him to infuse freshness into the set-up. The former skipper’s first major decision is a pretty strong one with the likes of Ahmed Shehzad, Umar Akmal, and Shahid Afridi excluded from contention for the upcoming tour to England.
While the lack of discipline was cited as the reason behind the ouster of both Shehzad and Akmal, the selection committee decided to do away with Afridi because Pakistan are scheduled to play only a solitary Twenty20 international in their trip.
In a press release, Inzamam stated, “Ahmed Shehzad and Umar Akmal have not been included in the training camp taking into view their past disciplinary record. Neither is their discipline good nor their recent performances consistent and impressive.”
The selectors announced that a preparatory camp would be held in Abbottabad in a bid to train the players before they travel to England for what is expected to be a rigorous tour. Inzamam revealed that though the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) were consulted, the squad was picked purely on the discretion of the selection committee.
He asserted, “Let me make one thing clear this selection committee is totally independent. The board gives us guidelines but in the end, it is our decision on who to select and who not to select.”
The 46-year old affirmed that attitude and performance were given top priority. Inzamam claimed, “We now have to ensure there is no compromise on discipline if we are to move forward. I also call on the media to support us in our decisions.”
When quizzed about Afridi’s future, he made it clear that the popular all-rounder had to return to the domestic scene and the door was still open for him. Inzamam said, “Since we are playing only four Twenty20 matches this year, we want to give new players a chance. And that will also allow Afridi to rest and perform in domestic matches.”
Despite the recent controversy surrounding him, veteran batsman Younis Khan found a place on the list. Inzamam explained, "Younis Khan's case is not in the domain of selection committee. Younis was penalized and fined by the match referee and then he later on also apologized to the cricket board. So, he is free to be selected as far as the board is concerned.”
Salman Butt was also excluded from the camp since the selectors felt that he needed more game-time to prove his value. The left-hander is also likely to face visa issues which could prevent him from touring England.
Pakistan will play 4 Tests, 5 ODIs and a lone T20I with the practice matches beginning on July 3 during the 2-month long trip.
Probables: Mohammad Hafeez, Sami Aslam, Iftikhar Ahmed, Azhar Ali, Sharjeel Khan, Khurram Manzoor, Shan Masood, Younis Khan, Misbah-ul-Haq, Asad Shafiq, Shoaib Malik, Haris Sohail, Babar Azam, Khalid Latif, Fawad Alam, Akbar-ur-Rehman, Asif Zakir, Anwar Ali, Bilawal Bhatti, Mohammad Amir, Rahat Ali, Imran Khan, Sohail Khan, Wahab Riaz, Junaid Khan, Hasan Ali, Sarfraz Ahmed, Mohammad Rizwan, Adnan Akmal, Yasir Shah, Zulfiqar Babar, Mohammad Asgher, Imad Wasim, Bilal Asif, Zohaib KhanPublished 02 May 2016, 21:18 IST