Pakistan are pondering over sending an extended 17-member squad for next month’s tour of South Africa, a member of the national selection committee said here on Wednesday.
Iqbal Qasim, a former Test cricketer, told this correspondent that the selectors still have to take a couple of key decisions before announcing the touring party for South Africa. Pakistan will announce their squad for the important tour tomorrow (Friday).
“We are undecided on the final composition of the team and are also considering whether to include an extra member in the squad,” said Iqbal, at the helm of national team selection in the absence of chief selector Wasim Bari who left earlier this week to perform Hajj.
The national team probables are currently featuring in a conditioning camp under progress at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore ahead of the tour of South Africa that would begin from January 3.
Pakistan are unlikely to make any surprise changes in the Test squad that won the home series against the West Indies 2-0 earlier this season though medium pacer Mohammad Asif is sure to make a comeback.
Fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar, however, remains doubtful after having failed to impress much in a few domestic games he took part in the recent past.
Shoaib and Asif missed the International Cricket Council (ICC) Champions Trophy and the series against the West Indies because of a doping ban. However, the duo was cleared by an appeals committee earlier this month and is available for the tour of South Africa.
While Asif has proved his form and fitness in the recently-concluded Twenty20 Cup, Shoaib is yet to convince the selectors.
Iqbal, who was in Lahore to witness the conditioning camp on Wednesday, refrained from commenting on Shoaib’s physical fitness.
“We have seen Shoaib play in domestic matches and also in the camp,” he said. “The bowler remains in contention for a place in the team,” he added.
If Shoaib is overlooked for the tour of South Africa, then pacer Mohammad Sami would most likely get the selectors’ nod.
Sami was dropped from the Test squad against the West Indies after a disappointing tour of England this summer but made an impressive return in the last two one-dayers against Brian Lara’s men.
Iqbal said that the selectors are yet to take a decision over the inclusion of a reserve wicket-keeper for the tour. Pakistan A team’s Zulqarnain Haider is expected to be included in touring party as a cover for Kamran Akmal.
The idea of having two wicket-keepers was floated by team coach Bob Woolmer, who is currently on a Christmas break.
“There is a possibility that we might send two wicket-keepers to South Africa but nothing is final yet,” said Iqbal, who is one of the best left-arm spinners produced by Pakistan.
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Post InfoThis entry was posted on Thursday, December 28th, 2006 and is filed under General.
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