Pakistan’s new chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq has wasted no time in making some big changes, axing star players Shahid Afridi, Ahmed Shehzad and Umar Akmal from a list of 35 players for an upcoming training camp ahead of their tour of England in July and August.
Former skipper Inzamam took over as selector last month as part of sweeping changes to the Pakistan side following their disappointing World T20, which also saw coach Waqar Younis and T20 captain Afridi relinquish their posts.
Despite stepping down, Afridi said he planned to push on in international cricket, but the selection panel – led by his former teammate Inzamam and fellow ex Pakistan players Wajahatullah Wasti, Tauseef Ahmed and Wasim Haider – has wielded the axe. “We are scheduled to play only six or so T20s in the coming year so we thought it is better to give chance to youngsters,” Inzamam said.
“In the meantime, Afridi will also get some time to rest and hopefully will regain his form.” “Ahmed Shehzad and Umar Akmal had discipline issues and their performances weren’t up to the mark either.”
Despite being dropped, Afridi vowed to continue his quest to play international cricket again and will also head to England this year to play for Hampshire in the T20 Blast.
Thirty-five players have been named for a three-week training camp starting later this month in the northern city of Abbottabad, home to the Pakistan Military Academy. The prospect of a military-style camp was raised a month ago as part of a report by a Pakistan Cricket Board-appointed Special Committee, which was formed after questions about the team’s performance by the Pakistan Government.
As well as appointing a new coach, a new T20 captain – Sarfraz Ahmed was named as Afridi’s replacement last month – and a new selection panel, the Special Committee recommended an increased focus on fitness. “The Special Committee highlighted fitness of the players as a major issue in the poor performance of Pakistan team,” read the statement issued from Lahore last night. “The PCB will henceforth make fitness standards achievements conditional in the players’ contracts and with fines to be imposed on players not achieving the desired standards.”
Pakistan will start their tour of England with the first of four Tests from July 16.
PAKISTAN TRAINING SQUAD
Muhammad Hafeez*, Sami Aslam, Iftikhar Ahmed, Azhar Ali, Sharjeel Khan, Khurram Manzoor, Shan Masood, Younis Khan, Misbah Ul Haq, Asad Shafiq, Shoaib Malik, Babar Azam, Harris Sohail*, Khalid Latif, Fawad Alam, Akbar Ur Rahman, Asif Zakir, Anwar Ali, Bilawal Bhatti, Mohammad Amir, Rahat Ali*, Imran Khan, Sohail Khan, Wahab Riaz, Junaid Khan, Hasan Ali, Sarfraz Ahmed, Muhammad Rizwan, Adnan Akmal, Yasir Shah, Zulfiqar Babar, Muhammad Ashgar, Imad Wasim*, Bilal Asif, Zohaib Khan
* subject to fitness
Neo Monitoring Report