ICL: Indian Cricket League

Selectors recall Shoaib in preliminary squad


Shoaib AkhtarNational selectors on Wednesday recalled ‘fit again’ fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar in a 20-man preliminary squad for next month’s brief tour of Scotland.

Shoaib was included in a list of players invited for a national training camp getting underway in Abbottabad from June 10 along. Middle-order batsmen Faisal Iqbal and Asim Kamal, who missed last month’s three-match One-day International (ODI) series against Sri Lanka because of illness, are also back along with Test discard Misbah-ul-Haq.

However, left-arm spinner Abdul Rehman was ignored by the selection committee which decided against keeping a specialist spinner in the probables’ list. Also snubbed was Pakistanís former captain Inzamam-ul-Haq.

As expected, Shoaib got the selectors’ nod for the camp that is aimed at helping the players improve their fitness ahead of a hectic international season for the Pakistanis which would begin with the inaugural Twenty20 World Cup in South Africa in September.

“Shoaib is fit and we hope that he would get in an even better shape by attending the training camp,” chief selector Salahuddin Ahmed alias Sallu told ‘The News’.

Shoaib, 31, hasn’t played any international cricket since limping out of the second Test against South Africa in Port Elizabeth in January due to a knee injury. He later missed the World Cup in the Caribbean and also made himself unavailable for the series against Sri Lanka in Abu Dhabi because of fitness problems.

Shoaib was expected to make his international return in the ongoing Afro-Asia Cup in India but was dropped from Asia’s squad on the insistence of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) which said that ‘any player not fit enough to play for Pakistan cannot play for any other team either’.

Sallu, however, said that Shoaib has now recovered from his fitness problems and hoped that the pacer would prove to be an asset for Pakistan in a series of important assignments which include a home series against South Africa and a tour of India later this year.

“Shoaib has been bowling with a lot of pace in the nets and there was no reason for him to stay out anymore,” said Sallu, a former Test cricketer.

He said that the return of Faisal Iqbal and Asim Kamal would give the selectors a wider choice in the batting department.

Also joining Faisal and Asim is 33-year-old batsman Misbah-ul-Haq, who last played for Pakistan in a one-dayer against Zimbabwe in Peshawar in October 2004.

After watching the probables for a week in Abbottabad, the selectors would announce Pakistan’s 14-man squad for the tour of Scotland on June 16. Pakistan are to play an ODI against India July 1 and another one-dayer against Scotland two days later, both in Glasgow.

Probables: Salman Butt, Imran Nazir, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Yousuf, Yasir Hameed, Misbah-ul-Haq, Naveed Latif, Faisal Iqbal, Asim Kamal, Fawad Alam, Shoaib Malik, Shahid Afridi, Abdul Razzaq, Kamran Akmal, Mohammad Asif, Shoaib Akhtar, Mohammad Sami, Umar Gul, Rao Iftikhar Anjum and Najaf Shah.

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This entry was posted on Thursday, June 7th, 2007 and is filed under Cricket, Cricket Stars.

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