Pak team named for tour of England

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LAHORE, June 5 (APP): The national selection committee named fast bowler Muhammad Amir in the Pakistan test cricket team for the tour of England and showed exit to Ahmad Shahzad, Bilal Asif, Fawad Alam, Junaid Khan and veteran Shoaib Malik.

“The team comprises the best available talent which is the unanimous choice of the selectors “, said chief selector, Inzamam ul Haq while addressing a news conference here on Sunday at Gadaffi stadium.

Pak team will play four test matches five one day internationals and one T20 game during the challenging tour of England. The team will depart fro England on June 18.

He said Amir has been included in the test squad subject to grant to visa. “We are hopeful he would be granted visa next week to fly with the team and in case of refusal of the visa he will be substituted with a suitable pace bowler”.

The squad, Mohammad Hafeez, Shan Masood, Sami Aslam, Misbah-ul-Haq (capt), Younis Khan, Azhar Ali, Asad Shafiq, Iftikhar Ahmed, Sarfraz Ahmed (wk), Muhammad Rizwan (wk), Zulfiqar Babar, Yasir Shah, Wahab Riaz, Mohammad Amir, Rahat Ali, Imran Khan, Sohail Khan Inzamam said the squad has three openers, five middle order batsmen, five pace bowlers, two spinners and two keepers.

Inzamam said in the 17-member squad a backup wicket keeper Muhammad Rizwan also been included to share the burden with regular keeper Sarfraz Ahmad. Rizwan who has played 15 ODIs and 9 T20 has yet to make his test debut.

Amir, if granted visa will be making his first appearance in a Test squad after his return to international cricket after a five-year suspension for spot-fixing in September last year.

He had made a comeback to Pakistan’s limited-overs’ squads earlier this year.

Leg spinner Yasir Shah who completed a three months ban in March last after failing a dope test is also part of the squad. Yasir later got injured and could not attend physical training camp at Abbottabad.

The chief selector said ,opening batsman, Muhammad Hafeez, spinner, Zulfiqar Babar,and Yasir Shah have been included after getting their fitness reports and it hoped that those who are part of the squad will justify their inclusion.

Answering a question, he said Junaid Khan is a good fast bowler but unfortunately after injury he could not get the necessary rhythm that is why Sohail Khan has replaced him.

“It does not mean that doors are closed to Junaid, whenever he will regain the lost rhythm he will be part of the team “, he asserted.

Inzamam said 17 players have been included in the squad at his own request and the output of the head coach ,Mickey Arthur and other coaches and the captain was taken before finalizing the combination of the squad.

“The aim of having 17 players in the squad is to give chance to the two members of the one day team to attend the pre tour conditioning camp in Hampshire “.

Regarding omission of Ahmed Shehzad, Bilal Asif, Fawad Alam, Junaid Khan and  Shoaib Malik, the chief selector said performance and fitness was the criteria to select the players and deserving and inform players were made part of the squad keeping in view the challenges involved in the tour of England.

Inzamam said Sami Aslam will be strengthening opening pair in the presence of Hafeez and Shan Masood and Iftikhar Ahmad will infuse force in the middle order.

The chief selector was of the view that four fast bowlers namely Wahab Riaz, Rahat Ali, Sohail Khan and Imran Khan , in addition of Amir are capable to put more fire in the pace battery and to shatter opponents batting.

“My main concern is that the team exhibit a brilliant show during the tour which is only possible when all the team members duly justify in their respective roles and perform setting sideathe pressure “, he said.

He urged the team members to play with an aggressive approach to gain desired results.

“In my opinion the main strength of our team is aggression which is the key to success “.