Pakistan ignores Hafeez, Kamran for World XI series
Karachi, Aug 25 (PTI) Pakistan has dropped experienced all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez and opener Kamran Akmal from the 16-member squad for the three-match Twenty20 series against a World XI side next month.
Besides the duo, the national selectors have also left out senior pacer Wahab Riaz for the coming series with chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq insisting that recent form and fitness was taken into consideration while finalising the squad.
"We have picked a blend of senior and young players based on their recent performances," he said.
Inzamam also said that he was happy to see younger getting a chance to play in front of their home crowds.
The axing of Hafeez comes as a surprise as he has been a consistent playmaker for Pakistan in the ODI and T20 formats while Wahab would also have reason to complain as he enjoys a good strike rate in T20 matches.
The World XI led by South African Faf Du Plessis will be playing matches on September 12, 13 and 15 marking the return of international cricket to Pakistan.
Since March, 2009 no top Test team has toured Pakistan after militants attacked the Sri Lankan team in Lahore although Zimbabwe did play a short limited over series in May, 2015.
But the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) believes that the World XI tour which has the full backing of the International Cricket Council and other cricket boards will eventually pave the way for more international teams to come to Pakistan.
The Pakistan squad led by wicketkeeper Sarfaraz Ahmed contains no surprises although it sees the return of batsman Umar Amin and fast bowler Sohail Khan and the inclusion of all-rounder Aamir Yamin in the team.
Sohail has been ignored by the national selectors on fitness grounds this year even though he was the leading bowler in the Pakistan Super League held earlier this year.
Head coach Mickey Arthur had specially called Sohail Khan for a fitness test to Lahore which he cleared to the satisfaction of the selectors and team management.
Pakistan squad: Sarfaraz Ahmad (Capt), Fakhar Zaman, Ahmed Shehzad, Shoaib Malik, Babar Azam, Umar Amin, Imad Wasim, Muhammad Nawaz, Shadab Khan, Faheem Ashraf, Hassan Ali, Aamir Yamin, Muhammad Aamir, Rumman Raees, Sohail Khan and Usman Shinwari