Pakistan announce Asia Cup squad
Mumbai, March 3: Pakistan have dropped Shoaib Malik, Imran Farhat and Adnan Akmal for the Asia Cup as repercussions of the team’s 0-4 ODI whitewash at the hands of England in the UAE. Opening batsman Nasir Jamshed and wicketkeeper Sarfraz Ahmed have been included in the 15-man squad.
The squad has been picked by the newly appointed selection committee headed by Iqbal Qasim after meeting Pakistan’s new coach Dav Whatmore, who will join the team for the Asia Cup.
"We have selected the best possible squad for the Asia Cup in the shortest time available, and since Malik was an additional member for the England series we couldn't find a place for him in the 15-man squad. We did consult Misbah and he agreed to the selection,” Qasim said.
"We had to maintain the balance keeping view of the pitches in Bangladesh. But now we have to compete with quality teams, especially Sri Lanka, who returned to form, and India will obviously come hard after the Australia tour."
Jamshed played the last of his 12 ODIs in August 2009. He represented the Chittagong Kings in the recently concluded Bangladesh Premier League. Sarfraz has replaced Adnan Akmal as the specialist wicketkeeper in the squad; he last played for Pakistan in the 2011 series against Bangladesh.
"Jamshed earned his recall only after he has done well in the domestic circuit as an opener," Qasim said. "There was an added pressure on Umar [Akmal] and this is why he might not be giving his best with the bat. He always was selected as a designated batsman, we wanted a batting wicketkeeper who can bat effectively in ODIs to score quick runs."
On Sarfraz, Qasim said, "It's our inability that we don't have a batting wicketkeeper but this would be the last chance for [Sarfraz Ahmed] to step up and do well with the bat. Otherwise, after the series, we are starting the talent hunt for an all-round wicketkeeper."
Pakistan Squad: Misbah-ul-Haq (c), Mohammad Hafeez, Nasir Jamshed, Younis Khan, Umar Akmal, Hammad Azam, Asad Shafiq, Shahid Afridi, Azhar Ali, Sarfraz Ahmed (wk), Saeed Ajmal, Abdur Rehman, Umar Gul, Aizaz Cheema, Wahab Riaz.