Pakistan selectors recall Faisal, Asim for Sri Lanka Tests

February 10th, 2009 - 9:11 pm ICT by IANS  

Shoaib AkhtarKarachi, Feb 10 (IANS) Pakistan Tuesday recalled discarded middle-order batsmen Faisal Iqbal and Asim Kamal in a preliminary 22-man squad for the opening Test against Sri Lanka scheduled to get underway in Karachi from Feb 21.

New captain Younis Khan heads the provisional squad which has no place for medium pacer Rao Iftikhar Anjum. Also overlooked for the opening Test was fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar, who is nursing a knee injury and may soon undergo surgery.

Pakistan chief selector Abdul Qadir said that he and fellow national selection committee members have chosen the finest available cricketers in the extended squad that will attend a brief training camp in Karachi from Feb 15. He said that the final squad for the Test series opener will be announced by Feb 18.

The selectors have also brought in rookie middle order batsman Saeed Bin Nasir as a reward for his consistent showing on the domestic circuit. The selectors have focused on picking middle order batsman in a bid to find a suitable replacement for the country’s most prolific run-getter - Mohammad Yousuf - who was banned by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) last November after he joined the rebel Indian Cricket League.

“We have enough options in the middle order with the return of Faisal Iqbal and Asim Kamal and the inclusion of newcomer Saeed Bin Nasir,” said Qadir, a former Pakistan Test leg-spinner.

Speaking on the surprising axing of Rao - one of the few success stories of Pakistan’s embarrassing ODI series defeat against Sri Lanka last month, Qadir said that the selection committee believes Rao is a one-day specialist.

“Rao is very good for one-day cricket but we believe there are enough good pacers for Tests in our pool,” said Qadir referring to pacers Umar Gul, Sohail Tanvir, Sohail Khan, Abdul Rauf, Yasir Arafat and rookie fast bowler Mohammad Talha.

Pakistan has not played a single Test since featuring in a drawn encounter against India in Bangalore in December 2007.

Pakistan’s provisional Test squad: Younis Khan (captain), Salman Butt, Nasir Jamshed, Khurram Manzoor, Shoaib Malik, Misbah-ul-Haq, Faisal Iqbal, Asim Kamal, Fawad Alam, Bazid Khan, Saeed Bin Nasir, Sohail Tanvir, Yasir Arafat, Danish Kaneria, Shahid Afridi, Kamran Akmal, Umar Gul, Mohammad Talha, Sohail Khan, Abdul Rauf, Saeed Ajmal, Sarfraz Ahmed

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