Pakistan drop Ahmed Shehzad, Umar Akmal for Eng tour
Pakistan opener Ahmed Shehzad and wicketkeeper-batsman Umar Akmal were on Monday dropped from the list of probables for the tour of England owing to their past indiscipline and poor recent form.
The new selection committee headed by Inzamam-ul-Haq announced the probables, which also did not feature Shahid Afridi as Pakistan would be playing only one Twenty20 during the tour.
“Ahmed Shehzad and Umar Akmal have not been included in the training camp taking into view their past disciplinary record,” Inzamam told a media conference in Lahore.
“Neither is their discipline good nor their recent performances consistent and impressive,” he said.
The name of senior all-rounder, Shahid Afridi was also not included in the list of 35 probables announced for the camp to be set up this month.
Inzamam also announced that senior player Muhammad Hafeez would be allowed to join the camp subject to his fitness report.
The camp is being set up in Abbotabad to prepare for the England tour from late June where Pakistan will play four Tests, five one-day internationals and one T20 match.
“Let me make one thing clear, this selection committee is totally independent. The board gives us guidelines but in the end it is our decision on who to select and who not to select,” the former captain said.
Inzamam made it clear that time had come to be firm on disciplinary issues. “We now have to ensure there is no compromise on discipline if we are to move forward. I also call on the media to support us in our decisions,” he added.
Inzamam said he had spoken to all the selectors and other stakeholders of Pakistan cricket and also gone through the reports of the former coach and manager before taking the decision to drop Shehzad and Umar from the camp.
Former coach Waqar Younis, in his report, strongly recommended that Umar be dropped from the team while he was also critical about Shehzad’s attitude and discipline.
Even after last year’s World Cup, Waqar and captain Misbah-ul-Haq had recommended to the board to drop both players. Inzamam said the selection committee had also not considered opener, Salman Butt for the camp since he had not played in a first class tournament as yet since his ban for spot-fixing expired last September.
Inzamam also defended the selection of senior batsman Younis Khan despite his recent decision to walk out of the Pakistan Cup one-day tournament after a dispute with match officials. “Younis Khan’s case is not in domain of selection committee. Younis was penalised and fined by the match referee and then he later on also apologised to the cricket board. So he is free to be selected as far as the board is concerned,” he added.
He also explained that Shahid Afridi was not in the camp for the England tour. “We are looking at building a new team for T20 format but Shahid will be considered later on if necessary,” he said.
The selectors also dropped left-arm pacer Muhammad Irfan from the camp and Inzamam said he would only be considered for T20 cricket after looking at his fitness condition.