ICL: Indian Cricket League

Shoaib Akhtar finds his way back into Pakistan squad


akhterPakistan on Friday recalled fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar for next month’s one-day series in India, writes Khalid Hussain.

The national selectors have named a 16-man squad for the five-match ODI series which will begin on November 5 in the eastern Indian city of Guwahati.

Apart from bringing back Shoaib, the selectors also inducted young Karachi all-rounder Fawad Alam in the squad and also gave another lifeline to misfiring opener Imran Nazir.

“A fit and in-form Shoaib Akhtar is an asset for the Pakistan team,” chief selector Salahuddin Ahmed told ‘The News’. “He adds another dimension to our bowling attack for what is an important series,” he added.

Shoaib, 32, is expected to make his comeback in the final one-dayer against South Africa in Lahore on Monday after having served a 13-match ban over misconduct.

Shoaib Malik will be leading Pakistan in India where the tourists will also play three Tests. Salahuddin said that the Test squad will be announced just before the conclusion of the ODI series.

Vice-captain Salman Butt managed to keep a place in the squad in spite of a series of unimpressive outings in recent times. There was, however, no room for fellow opener Mohammad Hafeez.

“This is the best possible squad,” said Salahuddin. “We have experienced batsmen in Mohammad Yousuf and Younis Khan and also some big-hitters like Shahid Afridi and Imran Nazir.”

Salahuddin, a former Test cricketer, said that Pakistan have a lot of variety in their bowling attack with Shoaib adding fire to the pace attack that also has Mohammad Asif, Umar Gul and Rao Iftikhar Anjum. “Then we have four spin options in Abdul Rehman (left-arm spinner), Afridi, Shoaib Malik and Fawad Alam,” he said.

Salahuddin said that Fawad is a promising cricketer who can do really well on slow and spinning wickets in India. “He is good batsman against spin bowling and can also be used as a slow bowler.”

Pakistan are to leave for New Delhi where they play a warm-up game before flying to Guwahati for the first one-dayer.

Pakistan’s ODI squad: Shoaib Malik (captain), Salman Butt, Imran Nazir, Yasir Hameed, Younis Khan, Mohammad Yousuf, Shahid Afridi, Misbah-ul Haq, Fawad Alam, Kamran Akmal, Mohammad Asif, Shoaib Akhtar, Umar Gul, Sohail Tanvir, Rao Iftikhar Anjum and Abdul Rehman.

Itinerary for the ODI series: Nov 5: First ODI, Guwahati. Nov 8: Second ODI, Mohali. Nov 11: Third ODI, Kanpur. Nov 15: Fourth ODI, Gwalior. Nov 18: Fifth ODI, Jaipur.

Source:Cricket News

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