Pakistan recall Shoaib Akhtar for Australia series

By Omar Khalid, IANS,

Karachi : Pakistan Monday recalled controversial pacer Shoaib Akhtar in a 15-man squad for the one-day series against Australia to be played in Dubai and Abu Dhabi from April 22 to May 7.

Support TwoCircles

It was a surprising decision as the 33-year-old Shoaib was dropped this January after a miserable performance in the first two one-dayers against Sri Lanka at home. He was also overlooked for the home Test series against the Sri Lankans.

However, chief selector Abdul Qadir said Monday that Shoaib has proved his fitness in a series of tests conducted by Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) experts in Lahore last week.

“A fit Shoaib Akhtar is an asset for Pakistan,” said Qadir while announcing the Pakistan squad.

Pakistan will host Australia for five One-day Internationals and a Twenty20 game in the UAE. The series was supposed to be played in Pakistan but was shifted to the UAE after the Aussies refused to travel to Pakistan because of security apprehensions.

“Shoaib consistently bowled around the 140-km per hour mark recently during a practice session and clocked his fastest delivery at 149 (km/h),” said Qadir, a former Pakistan Test leg-spinner.

Pakistan squad includes five fast bowlers and a specialist spinner.

Akhtar will spearhead the pacer battery that includes Umar Gul, Sohail Tanvir, Yasir Arafat and Rao Iftikhar Anjum. Saeed Ajmal will be the specialist spinner in the squad. The selectors have also shown faith in rookie opener Ahmed Shahzad.

They have also selected a practice squad that will travel with the national team to Dubai to attend a training camp starting there April 14. The Pakistan team will play a warm-up game against the practice squad next week ahead of its series opener against Australia April 22.

Pakistan squad: Younis Khan (captain) Salman Butt, Nasir Jamshed, Ahmed Shahzad, Misbah-ul-Haq, Shoaib Malik, Shahid Afridi, Fawad Alam, Kamran Akmal (wicket-keeper), Sohail Tanvir, Yasir Arafat, Rao Iftikhar Anjum, Shoaib Akhtar, Umar Gul, Saeed Ajmal