Ajmal returns as Pakistan selectors axe 3 World Cup batsmen
ISLAMABAD (AP) — Pakistan offspinner Saeed Ajmal returned in all three formats after clearing his bowling action for the series against Bangladesh, and the new selectors dropped three batsmen from the World Cup squad on Friday.
Nasir Jamshed (tournament average 1.66), Umar Akmal (27.33), and Ahmed Shehzad (32.42) were axed, while Younis Khan (14.33) was rested from the limited-overs team.
“We are not against any individual but cricketing discipline is more important to us,” new chief selector Haroon Rasheed said.
Misbah-ul-Haq and Shahid Afridi, who have retired from the 50-over format, will captain in the tests and Twenty20s respectively.
Azhar Ali, who was ignored for the World Cup, will lead the one-day international team, with middle-order batsmen Fawad Alam and Asad Shafiq making comebacks.
Pakistan is scheduled to play two tests, three ODIs and a Twenty20 in Bangladesh from this month.
Ajmal was suspended from international cricket last year due to an illegal bowling action, but remodeled his technique and was cleared in February.
Pakistan’s top order batsmen struggled in the World Cup, where it was eliminated in the quarterfinals by eventual champion Australia.
“We saw the detailed tour report (of the World Cup), and there’s a clear message from us: Pakistan should come first,” Rasheed said. “We expect thorough professionalism from all the players and for this, if we have to take some strict measures, we will not hesitate.”
Allrounder Mohammad Hafeez was also named in all three formats after missing the World Cup due to a foot injury. Hafeez is also suspended from bowling in international cricket but is due to undergo official testing of his action in Chennai, India, next week.
The selectors have included rookie opening batsman Sami Aslam in the test and ODI squads while another rookie middle-order batsman, Mohammad Rizwan, was in the ODI and T20 squads.
While Jamshed and Akaml were ignored for all three formats, Shehzad managed to keep his place in the T20 squad.
In the absence of injured tall fast bowler Mohammad Irfan, the selectors kept faith in Pakistan’s four-pronged pace attack in the World Cup comprising of Wahab Riaz, Sohail Khan, Rahat Ali, and Ehsan Adil for the limited-overs cricket.
Fast bowler Junaid Khan recovered from his hamstring injury, and was in the test and T20 teams.
Fast bowler Umar Gul has to prove his fitness after being picked for just the T20.
Test: Misbah-ul-Haq (captain), Babar Azam, Mohammad Hafeez, Sami Aslam, Asad Shafiq, Azhar Ali, Younis Khan, Haris Sohail, Saeed Ajmal, Yasir Shah, Zulfiqar Babar, Sarfraz Ahmed, Wahab Riaz, Junaid Khan, Sohail Khan, Rahat Ali.
ODI: Azhar Ali (captain), Sami Aslam, Sarfraz Ahmed, Mohammad Hafeez, Asad Shafiq, Fawad Alam, Mohammad Rizwan, Haris Sohail, Sohaib Maqsood, Saeed Ajmal, Yasir Shah, Wahab Riaz, Rahat Ali, Ehsan Adil, Sohail Khan.
Twenty20: Shahid Afridi (captain), Ahmed Shehzad, Sarfraz Ahmed, Mohammad Hafeez, Mukhtar Ahmed, Sohaib Maqsood, Haris Sohail, Mohammad Rizwan, Saeed Ajmal, Sohail Tanvir, Saad Nasim, Wahab Riaz, Sohail Khan, Umar Gul, Junaid Khan.