Sunday, March 30, 2008

Gul and Iftikhar included for first two ODIs

Bazid Khan, son of former international Majid, is back after a strong Pentangular Cup...

Umar Gul and Rao Iftikhar Anjum have been recalled for the first two one-day internationals against Bangladesh, but there is no room for Shoaib Akhtar in a near-full-strength Pakistan squad. Three finds from the ODI series against Zimbabwe at home recently - Nasir Jamshed, Sohail Khan and Wahab Riaz - were handed another opportunity to impress, while there was a recall for Bazid Khan after a fine Pentangular Cup.

Gul, who travelled to Australia for a medical check-up on a longstanding back problem that prevented him from taking any part in the Test series against India last year, and Iftikhar - who had a poor series against Zimbabwe - return from injury to boost the bowling. With Mohammad Asif ruled out and Shoaib waiting to be cleared by the PCB's disciplinary committee, Pakistan's bowling attack also included Sohail Tanvir, Sohail Khan and allrounders Fawad Alam and Shahid Afridi, who make up the spin quotient.

Bazid, who played one Test and three ODIs in 2004-05, finished as the Pentangular Cup's second-highest run-scorer with 522 at 74.57, including three hundreds.

In the ODIs against Zimbabwe, Pakistan tried out opener Jamshed and bowlers Sohail Khan - who shot to fame in his debut first-class season by grabbing 65 wickets in his first nine matches - and Riaz, among other young hopefuls. Jamshed impressed with 197 runs at 39.40 as did the two bowlers. Both wicketkeepers from that series, Kamran Akmal and Sarfraz Ahmed, have been retained.

While announcing the 16-man squad Salahuddin Ahmed, head of the selection committee, said that players such as Yasir Hameed, Yasir Arafat, Faisal Iqbal, Naumanullah, Abdur Rauf, Kamran Hussain, Junaid Zia, Yasir Ali, Umair Khan - who have all performed well on the domestic circuit - would be considered for the next three ODIs.

The five-match series runs from April 14 to May 5.

After Australia decided to postpone their tour of Pakistan, the PCB searched for a team to replace them for a five-match ODI series. The PCB was keen on India to play the matches but the BCCI could not fit another series in to an already jam-packed itinerary.

Pakistan squad Shoaib Malik (capt), Salman Butt, Nasir Jamshed, Younis Khan, Mohammad Yousuf, Misbah-ul-Haq, Shahid Afridi, Kamran Akmal (wk), Umar Gul, Sohail Tanvir, Rao Iftikhar Anjum, Sohail Khan, Wahab Riaz, Fawad Alam, Bazid Khan, Sarfraz Ahmed (wk).

Bangladesh in Pakistan 2007-08