Shoaib Akhtar has been included in the Asia one-day team for the Afro-Asia Cup in the first week of June. Shoaib was part of the 14-man squad, to be led by Mahela Jayawardene, the Sri Lankan captain, that includes Sachin Tendulkar, Sanath Jayasuriya and Mohammad Yousuf.
Shoaib, who has played only a handful of one-dayers and a solitary day of Test cricket in the past year, missed Pakistan's brief World Cup campaign and will not be travelling for the forthcoming ODI series against Sri Lanka in Abu Dhabi, starting May 18.
"I'm fit, I never said I was unfit," he had told telepk.com ten days earlier. "I had a knee injury before the World Cup but I just need a little bit more time to get fitter and get myself sorted out properly once and for all."
Shoaib will be partnered by Mohammad Asif, Lasith Malinga and Chaminda Vaas in the pace-bowling department. Like Shoaib, Asif also missed the World Cup, owing to an elbow injury, but returned to the Pakistan side as the vice-captain. Vaas, who wasn't part of the Sri Lanka squad for the Abu Dhabi series against Pakistan, since he had been released to play county cricket in England, was chosen for this tournament.
Mohammad Rafique and Harbhajan Singh will share the spin duties. Rahul Dravid, Sourav Ganguly and Chamara Silva, who had enjoyed a memorable World Cup, were the notable omissions from the squad.
The selectors - SM Farooque (Bangladesh), Chetan Chauhan (India), Mohsin Khan (Pakistan) and Lalith Kaluperuma (Sri Lanka) - also chose a team for the Twenty20 international on June 5 in Bangalore. Shoaib Malik was appointed captain in a team dominated by Pakistanis and Bangladeshis. Tillakaratne Dilshan, Farveez Maharoof and Munaf Patel were the only players from Sri Lanka and India.
The tournament will kick off with the Twenty20 international and will be followed by three ODIs, on June 6 and 9 (Chennai), and 10 (Bangalore). This will be the second edition of the tournament - it was first held in 2005 in South Africa. The series was drawn 1-1 with one game being abandoned owing to rain.
Asia ODI team
1 Sanath Jayasuriya, 2 Virender Sehwag, 3 Upul Tharanga, 4 Mahela Jayawardene (capt), 5 Sachin Tendulkar, 6 Mohammad Yousuf, 7 Yuvraj Singh, 8 Mahendra Singh Dhoni (wk), 9 Harbhajan Singh, 10 Chaminda Vaas, 11 Shoaib Akhtar, 12 Lasith Malinga, 13 Mohammad Rafique, 14 Mohammad Asif
Asia Twenty20 team
1 Tamim Iqbal, 2 Imran Nazir, 3 Mohammad Ashraful, 4 Shoaib Malik (capt), 5 Tillakaratne Dilshan, 6 Shahid Afridi, 7 Kamran Akmal (wk), 8 Farveez Maharoof, 9 Abdur Razzak, 10 Mashrafe Mortaza, 11 Munaf Patel