Pakistan drops Afridi, Umar Akmal for Champions Trophy
The national selection committee today, as expected, axed experienced all-rounder Shahid Afridi and batsman Umar Akmal for the ICC Champions Trophy in England in June.
Chief selector Iqbal Qasim announced the 15-member squad in Lahore today after lengthy deliberations although the selectors had finalised the squad last week and submitted it to the PCB chairman for approval.
At the end of the day, it transpired that the selectors made two changes to their submitted squad replacing the injured middle order batsman Haris Sohail with Umar Amin and preferring to pick left arm pacer Wahab Riaz to Aizaz Cheema.
The rest of the squad remained the same and Qasim said that Afridi was dropped because of his recent poor bowling form. "Afridi's bowling has not been up to the mark in recent matches.
He has not taken wickets and his primary role in the team is that of a bowler," Qasim told a press conference.
The same set of players with the addition of a few more are expected to get the central contracts for 2013.
The PCB also announced that Australian Trent Woodhill would be the batting coach of the team for the Champions Trophy and would join them in England.
Woodhill is presently on the coaching staff of the Delhi Daredevils in the IPL. Afridi and Umar, who went to South Africa for the recent one-day series, were the two main exclusions while uncapped pacer Asad Ali was the notable inclusion.
Asad has been in the team in Pakistan's recent tours to India and South Africa without getting a chance to play any match.
Qasim said Junaid Khan, Mohammad Irfan, Asad Ali, Ehsan Adil and Wahab would be the five pacers selected in the squad while the spin department will be handled by Abdul Rehman and Saeed Ajmal.
"The selectors have also given a final warning to senior pros, Shoaib Malik and Kamran Akmal to gear up and perform or consider the Champions Trophy their last tour with the national team," he said.
Pakistan first play a one-day series in Scotland and Ireland in May before going to England for the Champions Trophy.
This will be their first visit to England since the 2010 spot fixing scandal. Pakistan Squad: Misbah-ul-Haq (Capt), Nasir Jamshed, Imran Farhat, Mohammad Hafeez, Asad Shafiq, Shoaib Malik, Umar Amin, Kamran Akmal, Saeed Ajmal, Abdul Rehman, Junaid Khan, Mohammad Irfan, Asad Ali, Ehsan Adil and Wahab Riaz.