ICL: Indian Cricket League

Abdul Razzaq, Shahid Afridi in contention for ODI series against South Africa


Pakistan are planning to send all-rounder Abdul Razzaq and left-arm spinner Abdul Rehman to join the national team in South Africa ahead of next month’s one-day series and are also considering five other players for the assignment.

Chief selector Wasim Bari told ‘The News’ that Razzaq, Rehman along with Shabbir Ahmed, Shahid Afridi, Rao Iftikhar Anjum, Imran Nazir and Yasir Arafat are under consideration for the one-day series that would get underway with a Twenty20 game in Johannesburg on February 2.

“We are considering five or six players for the one-day series against South Africa and would finalise the names in the next couple of days,” Bari said.

Pakistan are set to make a few changes in the touring party for the one-day series that includes five One-day Internationals (ODIs) to be played between February 4-14.

Injured pacers Shoaib Akhtar and Umar Gul have already been sent back home from South Africa and would be replaced by two bowlers while the team management may decide to replace a couple of more players in their Test squad with one-day specialists.

Razzaq and Rehman, who featured in the home ODI series against the West Indies last month, seem set to return to the one-day squad for the important series against South Africa. The contest would serve as a launch pad for Pakistan for the all-important World Cup to be held in the West Indies from March 13 to April 28.

Bari said that Pakistan would want all of its top players to take part in the series and warm up for the World Cup.

“We would consider all the available players for the series and vote in favour for the best possible squad for the series (against South Africa),” said the chief selector.

Razzaq, 27, an integral part of Pakistan’s one-day squad, missed the Test series against South Africa after suffering an injury during the home series against the West Indies. He was advised a few weeks of rest and treatment and according to Bari the players is now almost fit.

“He (Razzaq) is 90 percent fit and could be sent to South Africa if he passes a fitness test,” he said.

Razzaq, who has scored 4403 runs and taken 243 wickets from 243 ODI matches, has been asked to play in a Quaid-e-Azam Trophy match starting from today to judge his fitness before recalling him in the team.

Rehman is expected to make a return after an impressive performance in the one-day series against the West Indies at home. However, Bari was non-committal on his inclusion.

“We would take consider all aspects before making changes in the team for the one-dayers,” he said.

Bari said that the out-of-form Afridi is also under consideration even though the all-rounder wasted a precious opportunity in a game against the West Indies last month.

Afridi has lost his place in the Pakistan squad after an awful run with the bat in 2006 but remains in contention for a place in the national team mainly because he is still on the radar for the World Cup. Pakistan are to announce their 13-member World Cup squad by February 13.

Source:The News

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