Malik axed from Pakistan’s Asia Cup side; Jamshed, Sarfraz recalled

March 3rd, 2012 - 6:40 pm ICT by IANS  

Lahore, March 3 (IANS) Pakistan have dropped Shoaib Malik, Imran Farhat and Adnan Akmal for the Asia Cup beginning March 11 in Bangladesh, bringing in opener Nasir Jamshed and wicket-keeper Sarfraz Ahmed in the 15-man squad.

All-rounder Malik, opener Farhat and gloveman Akmal have been excluded from the side that lost 0-4 to England in the recently concluded one-day series in United Arab Emirates. Fast bowler Junaid Khan was not considered due to a knee injury.

The selectors headed by new chief Iqbal Qasim picked the side here Friday in the presence of Dav Whatmore, whose first assignment will be the Asia Cup involving teams from India, Sri Lanka and hosts Bangladesh.

“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,” said Qasim.

“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 has played 12 One-day Internationals with his last match in 2009.

“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.”

For Sarfraz, Qasim said Asia Cup would be his last chance to establish himself in the team. He last played for Pakistan in December 2011.

Qasim said that the Asia Cup would be Sarfraz’s last chance to seal his place in the Pakistan team.

“It is our inability that we don’t have a batting wicketkeeper but this would be the last chance for (Sarfraz) to step up and do well with the bat. Otherwise, after the series, we are starting the talent hunt for an all-round wicketkeeper.”

The squad: Misbah-ul-Haq (captain), 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.

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