Fitness problems has ruled Shoaib Akhtar out of the preparatory camp in Lahore as Pakistan prepare for the three-match ODI series against Sri Lanka at Abu Dhabi next month. The camp will be held at Gaddafi Stadium from April 28 to May 4, before the national selectors announce the squad two days later.
The National Selection Committee have short-listed over 35 players, which includes proven performers in the recently concluded domestic season. Younis Khan, who recently declined the captaincy following Inzamam-ul-Haq's retirement from ODIs, hasn't been included as yet as the committee is waiting for him to confirm his availability. Younis was recently granted permission from the Pakistan board to play for Yorkshire in the county season.
"We have announced more than 30 players for the camp because it is our first series since taking over the new assignment and we wanted to see maximum number of players before making the selection of the final 15." said Salahuddin Ahmad, the newly appointed chairman of selectors. "The performance of domestic cricket, junior cricket, A teams and international cricket have been considered in their selection."
A notable exclusion is Danish Kaneria, the legspinner, who is currently representing Essex. In his place is Mansoor Amjad, the promising legspinner who has also been signed by Leicestershire for this season. Azhar Mahmood, the allrounder who was recalled for the World Cup, has also been excluded. Fawad Alam, currently captaining the Pakistan Academy team in Bangladesh, is a strong contender for a middle-order position on the back of a prolific domestic season.
The inclusion of Sarfraz Ahmed, the U19 world cup winning wicket-keeper, adds pressure on Kamran Akmal to get his act together with the bat as well as gloves. Rana Naved-ul-Hasan, representing Sussex on the county circuit, is another surprise exclusion from the list while Shabbir Ahmed makes a comeback after injury cut short his visit to South Africa.
The ODI series begins on May 9.
Batsmen Salman Butt, Imran Farhat, Imran Nazir, Khurram Manzoor, Taufeeq Umar, Babar Naeem, Khalid Latif, Mohammad Yousuf, Faisal Iqbal, Misbah-ul-Haq, Asim Kamal, Hasan Raza, Naved Latif, Yasir Hameed, Riffatullah Mohmand, Shahid Yousuf, Adnan Raza
Allrounders Shoaib Malik (capt), Abdul Razzaq, Shahid Afridi, Mohammad Hafeez, Fawad Alam
Fast bowlers Mohammad Asif, Mohammad Sami, Umar Gul, Rao Iftikhar Anjum, Shabbir Ahmad, Abdul Rauf, Mohammad Irshad, Najaf Shah, Shahid Nazir, Mohammad Khalil
Spinners Abdur Rahman, Tahir Khan, Atif Maqbool, Mansoor Amjad
Wicketkeepers Kamran Akmal, Sarfraz Ahmad, Zulqarnain Haider