Fawad’s selection chances get a boost as Faisal, Kamal ruled out

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Prominent middle-order batsmen Faisal Iqbal and Asim Kamal are almost out of the race to replace former captain Inzamam-ul-Haq in Pakistan’s One-day International (ODI) squad for a three-match series against Sri Lanka in Abu Dhabi because of illness.

Faisal, 25, is suffering from an eye ulcer that has forced him to miss training sessions at a preparatory camp that concluded in Lahore on Thursday. Asim Kamal was also forced to remain away from the action because of malaria.

The duo, regarded among the more talented of the local batsmen, were in the run for berths in the Pakistani squad for the ODI series in Abu Dhabi later this month because of the absence of Inzamam and Younis Khan.

Inzamam has retired from one-day cricket while Younis made himself unavailable for the matches against Sri Lanka because of his county commitment with Yorkshire.

Faisal, a nephew of former Pakistan captain Javed Miandad, has featured in 18 one-day matches and last played against the West Indies in the home series in December, 2006. He has also played 18 Tests and is considered by many as an automatic choice to replace Inzamam in the middle-order. The Karachi-based batsman, who was ignored for the World Cup in the Caribbean, was being seriously considered for the matches in Abu Dhabi by the national selectors but the eye infection has almost ended his hopes of playing in the series.

Asim Kamal, 28, was also in the 39-man list invited for a national training camp last month. A reliable batsman who has a healthy average in Tests, the left-handed Asim is yet to make his ODI debut for Pakistan.

Some experts support his inclusion in both the Test and ODI squads because of his solid temperament which they believe can be an asset for the Pakistani batting line-up that has the tendency to crumble under pressure.

With Faisal and Asim becoming doubtful, young batsman Fawad Alam now looks set to get a berth in the Abu Dhabi-bound squad.

Fawad would captain a Pakistan Academy team against a select XI that would be led by the new Pakistan Shoaib Malik at the Gaddafi Stadium in the last trial match today. The 21-year-old Fawad led Pakistan Academy to the title in a three-team Academy tournament in Dhaka earlier this week that also involved teams from Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

The national selectors have decided to give rest to several prominent national players and have instead opted to try out several second string players in the last trial game.

An official said that premier batsman Mohammad Yousuf, pacers Umar Gul, Mohammad Sami and Rao Iftikhar are some of the leading players who would be rested for today’s match.

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has decided to wind up the training camp after today’s match according to scheduled but has announced that the national team players would reassemble for a final phase of the camp on May 10 in Lahore.

Pakistan are to announce their team for the series in Abu Dhabi by May 7.

The three-match series is now to be played from May 18-22. Earlier, the matches were to be held from May 9-15 but were rescheduled on the request of the Sri Lankan cricket officials. The Pakistan cricket team would leave for Abu Dhabi on May 16.
Source:The News

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This entry was posted on Friday, May 4th, 2007 and is filed under Cricket, Cricket Stars.

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