Karachi: Pakistan on Friday ignored experienced cricketers Kamran Akmal and Mohammad Hafeez for the forthcoming ODI series in Australia while also axing leg-spinner Yasir Shah for the five-match rubber, starting next month.
The national selectors ignored Kamran despite the wicket-keeper batsman having a sizzling season with the bat in which he has scored seven centuries.
Similarly, Hafeez was also ignored although he has resumed bowling in domestic cricket after being cleared by the ICC last month. Reliable sources close to the selectors told PTI that while the national selection committee headed by Inzamam-ul-Haq wanted to include Kamran as a specialist batsman and Hafeez in the ODI squad, ODI captain Azhar Ali and head coach Mickey Arthur had strongly resisted their selection.
“There was lot of debate on the inclusion of Kamran who last played an ODI for Pakistan in June 2013 but Azhar and Arthur told Inzamam they wanted to continue with Mohammad Rizwan as the reserve keeper and batsman in the squad,” a source said.
He said after holding several discussions with Arthur, Inzamam gave away. “But he (Inzamam) has made it clear to them that it is now their responsibility to perform in the ODI series and the selectors will not take any blame if the results are not good,” the source added.
Hafeez, 35, has also been out of favour with the selectors since returning from England midway through the ODI series in August due to a fitness issue.
But since then he has attained full fitness and started scoring runs in domestic cricket while also resuming bowling after clearing the ICC bowling assessment test in England last month. Hafeez completed a 12-month ban from bowling in July.
“The ODI team has been selected keeping in mind the conditions in Australia and the performances of players in the recent ODI series against West Indies and in the domestic cricket.
The team is a fine blend of experience and youth, and the selectors have stuck to the same combination of players and believe that team will do well in the tour,” a statement issued by Inzamam read.
The selectors have also dropped Yasir Shah for the ODI matches starting from January 13 in Brisbane after his listless performances in the two Tests in Australia.
Also dropped from the team are pacers Sohail Khan and Imran Khan, who were part of the Test squad. The first ODI of the five-match series will be played at Brisbane Cricket Ground on January 13.
Pakistan ODI squad: Azhar Ali (Captain), Sarfaraz Ahmad (vice-Captain), Sharjeel Khan, Babar Azam, Shoaib Malik, Asad Shafiq, Umar Akmal, Muhammad Rizwan, Imad Wasim, Muhammad Nawaz, Muhammad Aamir, Wahab Riaz, Hassan Ali, Rahat Ali and Muhammad Irfan.