Pakistan cricket: Shahid Afridi ‘to rest’ and young blood to be given chance in England series

Pakistan have dropped Shahid Afridi, Ahmed Shehzad and Umar Akmal for various reasons ahead of the upcoming series against England.
Shahid Afridi shown during the 2016 Asian Cup in Bangladesh. Munir uz Zaman / AFP / March 2, 2016
Shahid Afridi shown during the 2016 Asian Cup in Bangladesh. Munir uz Zaman / AFP / March 2, 2016

Pakistan are going to give Shahid Afridi a ‘rest’ and dropped Ahmed Shehzad and Umar Akmal on disciplinary grounds on Monday for the series against England.

Chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq said he read a report from previous coach Waqar Younis and also met with all the stakeholders of the national team before making the decision.

He said Afridi – who announced he would continue playing the Twenty20 format after resigning as captain in the wake of the event – needed to regain his form first in domestic competition.

“Since we are playing only four Twenty20 matches this year we want to give new players a chance, and that will also allow Afridi to rest and perform in domestic matches,” Inzamam said at a news conference in Lahore.

Former Afghanistan coach Inzamam, who is heading up the newly formed selection committee as part of wholesale changes following last month’s tournament humiliation, announced 35 players would attend boot camp starting in Kakul from May 14 to June 4.

• Read more: Osman Samiuddin – Shahid Afridi, a man who seems to stand for so much, is maybe best explained by his sixes

• Also see: Captains fall and coaches are sacked – this is the history of Pakistan, nothing changes

Opening batsman Shehzad has performed domestically – he top scored with 372 runs, including three half centuries and a century, which helped Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa to win the Pakistan Cup domestic one-day tournament on Sunday – but his omission resulted out of his conduct.

Inzamam said he will be taking “tough decisions” when it comes to discipline in the team.

“It’s not about performance in the Pakistan Cup, now we have to be strict on discipline and for that we have to take some serious steps,” Inzamam said.

Inzamam replaced Haroon Rasheed as chief selector last month as the Pakistan Cricket Board revamped the selection committee after Pakistan won only one of the four group matches at the World Twenty20, against qualifiers Bangladesh.

Younis stepped down as coach after the World Twenty20 and in his tour report criticised Shehzad and Akmal.

Inzamam will begin assessing fitness next week.

The fitness of several players such as Mohammad Hafeez, Haris Sohail and fast bowler Rahat Ali is in doubt.

The selection committee has also rested fast bowler Mohammad Irfan for a one-off T20 against England, with Inzamam’s stated preference for giving younger players a chance in the short format.

Salman Butt will have to wait longer for a return to international cricket after his five-year spot-fixing suspension ended last September as the left-handed opener was not named in the squad.

Inzamam said Butt had played only in domestic one-day matches since September and needed to play more four-day matches in domestic first class cricket.

“I think he should play one season of four-day matches so that he could make a comeback in a better way,” Inzamam said.

Pakistan will play four Test matches, ODIs and a Twenty20 against England, starting from July 14.

Squad named for boot camp: Mohammad Hafeez, Sami Aslam, Iftikhar Ahmed, Azhar Ali, Sharjeel Khan, Khurram Manzoor, Shan Masood, Younis Khan, Misbah-ul-Haq, Asad Shafiq, Shoaib Malik, Haris Sohail, Babar Azam, Khalid Latif, Fawad Alam, Akbar-ur-Rehman, Asif Zakir, Anwar Ali, Bilawal Bhatti, Mohammad Amir, Rahat Ali, Imran Khan, Sohail Khan, Wahab Riaz, Junaid Khan, Hasan Ali, Sarfraz Ahmed, Mohammad Rizwan, Adnan Akmal, Yasir Shah, Zulfiqar Babar, Mohammad Asgher, Imad Wasim, Bilal Asif, Zohaib Khan

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Published: May 2, 2016 04:00 AM

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