As speculated recently in the media, Pakistan has decided to ignore the services of their star players Mohammad Yousuf and Abdul Razzaq for the Twenty20 World Cup in South Africa. While Yousuf might have lost his place because of his slow movement on the field, the omission of Razzaq is quite baffling as he is one of the most feared batsman in the world during the dying stages of an ODI which makes him an ideal candidate for Twenty20 Cricket.
The Pakistani Selectors have sprung a surprise by including 33-year-old Misbah-ul-Haq as the possible middle order replacement for Yousuf. Misbah-ul-Haq has two fifties at the international level having played 5 Tests and 12 ODIs. He makes a return to the international arena after three years. Fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar has found a place after the Selectors were satisfied with his fitness. Shoaib had a tough time during the local Twenty20 warm-up matches where he was taken to the cleaners by a couple of young batsmen which saw him later vent his anger on a window pane at Karachi’s National Stadium. Shoaib didn’t show much respect to the Selectors who were watching the game as he casually played the match in shorts before returning back to the pavilion because of dehydration. Shoaib went onto miss the training camp for the Twenty20 probables because of a neck injury but that hasn’t stopped the Selectors in naming him in the final squad.
Pakistan have included young spinning all rounder Fawad Alam in their line-up following his impressive show in the domestic Twenty20 tournament. Fawad Alam has played just the one ODI so far in his career. Shoaib Malik will be leading the 15-man squad with the Vice-Captain being opener Salman Butt. The lone specialist spinner in the side is left armer Abdur Rehman who has sealed his place with a hat-trick in one of the practice matches.
Pakistan Squad : Shoaib Malik (Captain), Salman Butt (Vice-Captain), Imran Nazir, Mohammad Hafeez, Younis Khan, Misbah-ul-Haq, Shahid Afridi, Yasir Arafat, Kamran Akmal (Wicket Keeper), Abdur Rehman, Shoaib Akhtar, Mohammad Asif, Umar Gul, Rao Iftikhar Anjum, Fawad Alam