Afridi, Akmal recalled for tour of West Indies
ISLAMABAD (AP) — Flamboyant allrounder Shahid Afridi was recalled by Pakistan on Wednesday for the five one-day internationals and two Twenty20s against West Indies in the Caribbean this month.
Opener Ahmed Shahzad and middle-order batsman Umar Akmal also made comebacks while Umar’s brother Kamran, Imran Farhat, Shoaib Malik have paid for last month’s Champions Trophy flop.
Afridi was also left out of the Champions Trophy after he was wicketless during the five-match ODI series against South Africa.
“We expect slow, low bouncy wickets in the West Indies and that’s why we have recalled Afridi,” chief selector Iqbal Qasim said in Lahore.
Umar will also replace his older brother Kamran as first-choice wicketkeeper in both formats with uncapped Mohammad Rizwan as his backup for the ODIs.
Afridi has 7,164 runs and 348 wickets in ODIs, both top-six in team history. But his form dipped sharply in the last 12 ODIs, when he scored only 161 runs at an average of 17.88 and took just four wickets.
However, Pakistan ODI captain Misbah-ul-Haq backed the struggling 33-year-old allrounder and hoped he could strengthen the team.
“We needed a spinning allrounder at No. 7 keeping in mind the conditions we might face in the West Indies and that’s why we have picked him,” Misbah said of Afridi.
Qasim said the selectors have kept Afridi in mind for the 2015 World Cup while picking the squad for West Indies. Afridi was the captain at the 2011 World Cup.
“We are trying to rebuild the team for the World Cup in two years’ time and we hope that youngsters will learn by playing in the company of Misbah and Mohammad Hafeez,” he said.
Youngsters Asad Shafiq, Umar Amin and Harris Sohail were drafted in the middle-order batting lineup while allrounder Hammad Azam, left-arm fast bowler Sohail Tanvir and left-arm spinner Zulfiqar Babar will join the team for the Twenty20s.
Fast bowlers Junaid Khan, Mohammad Irfan, Wahab Riaz and Asad Ali were selected for both ODIs and Twenty20s while Saeed Ajmal, Abdur Rehman, Afridi and Hafeez are the four specialist spinners.
Fast bowler Umar Gul, who missed the Champions Trophy because of a knee operation, was still recovering and not considered.
Pakistan leaves for the Caribbean next week and will play its first and second one-dayers at Guyana on July 14 and 16. St. Lucia will host the remaining three one-dayers on July 19, 21 and 24.
St. Vincent will host back-to-back Twenty20s on July 27 and 28.
One-day: Misbah-ul-haq (captain), Nasir Jamshed, Ahmad Shahzad, Mohammad Hafeez, Asad Shafiq, Umar Akmal, Shahid Afridi, Saeed Ajmal, Wahab Riaz, Junaid Khan, Mohammad Irfan, Asad Ali, Umar Amin, Mohammad Rizwan, Abdul Rehman, Harris Sohail
Twenty20: Mohammad Hafeez (captain), Nasir Jamshed, Ahmad Shahzad, Harris Sohail, Umar Akmal, Hammad Azam, Shahid Afridi, Saeed Ajmal, Sohail Tanvir, Wahab Riaz, Mohammad Irfan, Asad Ali, Umar Amin, Zulfiqar Babar, Junaid Khan.