Pakistan in West Indies, 2017 March 15, 2017

Kamran Akmal returns to Pakistan ODI and T20I squads

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Kamran Akmal bound for the Caribbean

Kamran Akmal has been recalled to the national team after three years while Ahmed Shehzad, who had been overlooked for a year, made a return to the T20I and ODI sides for Pakistan's tour to the West Indies. Azhar Ali, who had been captain of the 50-over side as recently as January, has been dropped.

The selection committee, headed by Inzamam-ul-Haq, also called up five uncapped players while fast bowler Mohammad Amir has been rested for the T20 format.

Kamran, 35, last featured for Pakistan during the 2014 World T20 and has not been in contention for the national side since his central contract was cut the same year. He was, however, prolific on the domestic circuit in the 2014-15 season, scoring 900 first-class runs at 52.94 and 576 List A runs at 52.36. In the subsequent year, he made 480 first-class runs at 60 and 576 List A runs at 72. He was the top-scorer with 1035 runs at 79.61 in the recent first-class season and was the leading run-scorer in the second edition of Pakistan Super League with a tally of 353.

Shehzad, 25, has not been part of the Pakistan team since the 2016 World T20 due to disciplinary issues. He fought his way back into contention after hitting three hundreds in the departmental one-day cup, amassing 653 runs at an average of 93.28 earlier this year. He combined a number of low scores with a few impressive knocks in this year's PSL and did enough to restore selectors' faith in him. With Pakistan searching for openers after Sharjeel Khan's suspension for his involvement in alleged corruption in the PSL, Shehzad has been given another opportunity.

These squads were picked from a pool of 31 players who were in Lahore for a training camp and Inzamam said only one of them failed to pass a fitness test - Umar Akmal. Pakistan's head coach Mickey Arthur himself had put the players through the paces at the National Cricket Academy and has been very vocal about his men being at the peak of their physical ability.

"We had a set a fitness standard which isn't really a tough one to start with," Inzamam said. "But he still didn't meet the average level. So whoever the player is, whatever his performance is like, we could not select him. Umar being dropped is a reprimand and it's a major blow for any player. He is a good player, we needed him, but we had to take a decision."

Inzamam was sympathetic to Azhar's cause as well and said the former ODI captain remained a part of their long-term plans. "He is still in our loop for Champions Trophy in England where, considering the conditions, we probably will need our senior batsmen. But for now we wanted to encourage our junior players who can have a future with Pakistan."

Leading the uncapped players were batsman Fakhar Zaman and legspinner Shadab Khan. They were both highly impressive in the PSL and found a place in the squads for both limited-overs formats. Domestic veteran Asif Zakir, who has been playing first-class cricket for 14 years and has 123 matches under his belt, has been trusted to translate that experience on the ODI stage. Rounding off the uncapped roster were left-arm spinner Mohammad Asghar and the leading wicket-taker from the 2016-17 departmental one-day cup Fahim Ashraf.

"These young players are equally good and they are going to play international cricket for the country," Inzamam said. "So they need to play at the highest level at some stage and I have full faith in them. They will perform, and conditions in the West Indies, we all know are similar to the ones in subcontinent and the West Indies team isn't like the one in the 70s, 80s or even from the 90s. But still if they face tough competition there, this will obviously help them to develop."

For the T20Is, Pakistan have picked left-arm quicks for the T20s with Sohail Tanvir, Wahab Riaz, Usman Khan, who had debuted in 2013, and Rumman Raees, who was part of the previous Pakistan squad that played West Indies in the UAE in 2016. Hasan Ali offered the option of variation.

Pakistan play four T20Is, three ODIs and three Tests in the Caribbean starting on March 31.

Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • vaseem2958736 on March 26, 2017, 16:56 GMT

    Happy to see Ahmed Shehzad back in the team.

  • Sohan on March 21, 2017, 5:00 GMT

    Sarfaraz Ahmed should have been dropped. No point of picking 2 WK in the playing XI.

  • molab14586992 on March 20, 2017, 15:19 GMT

    We should start again with a few current players 1:Shehzad 2:Mukhtar 3:Babar 4:Sarfraz 5:Saad ali 6:Akbar ur rehman 7:Imad 8:Shadab 9:Fahim 10:Amir 11:Hassan ali

  • sunaid7198815 on March 20, 2017, 8:09 GMT

    Dont know why the selected nawaz. Hes not good enough with the bat hasent Proven him self with the ball and yet they call him a allrounder should have chosen hassan khan insted

  • Kabir Awadhi on March 19, 2017, 19:21 GMT

    where is SOHAIL KHAN in the squads ??

  • molab14586992 on March 19, 2017, 13:48 GMT

    The team should prepare an 11 for the the champions trophy the playing 11 in the champions trophy should be 1:Shehzad 2:Zaman 3:Babar 4:Malik 5:Sarfraz 6:Imad 7:Shadab 8:Fahim 9:Amir 10:Sohail khan 11:Hassan ali This team is pretty good with a strong tail good bowling options and hopefully a few hitters and some capable batsmen hopefully there should be no kamran akmal azhar asad shafiq or hafeez these players will bring our team down they are all worthless

  •   Cricinfouser on March 19, 2017, 13:47 GMT

    Sadaf and Fawad will die performing but won't get selected....don't know what's the hinderance which doesn't let them play for their country after performing year after year seasons after seasons in both 4 day and ODI formats...Fakhar zaman too belong to their category ,was peforming tremendously but didn't get selected now finally he has... but these two have given their all ..by far the best players in 4 day and ODI formats..Ok Don't select them for T20s..(though fawad can play the role of guiding the innings even in T20s but OK we have babar,malik so we can't include him that's understandable)and Sadaf doesn't play T20s which is good for him as it could affect his longer formats bowling but why ignoring them for ODIs and Tests? No one comes close to Sadaf hussain in avg and SR ,his ability to take wickets in every match not even amir.what's the problem? Similarly, Fawad is by far the best batsman in domestic.way better than Babar, Rizwan and Iftikharwhom you given a chance last year

  •   Cricinfouser on March 19, 2017, 13:23 GMT

    As for Kamran Akmal's return I think he deserves a chance after performing immensely not only in PSL but most importantly in the domestic cricket. He was unstoppable in Quaid e Azam Trophy and umar akmal should have been included in the side as one down or two down player as he is one player who can constantly hit big in the middle overs. Though I get people are frustrated with him but still they should agree that he can hit big unlike anyother.... I don't agree with people criticizing Inzi on the exclusion of Sohail Khan..don't forget Sohail khan was too expensive in PSL more than wahab,amir,rumman,sami,Irfan,hasan.So I don't think he belongs to limited over cricket same goes for Sohail tanvir not happy with his selection ..they can hit big in the end overs but their bowling don't justify the selection.Hasan,Rumman are better. Dropping Azhar is a good decision..he always seems to struggle in ODIs ,can't hit boundaries regularly with ease. Fakhar n Shehzd r better suited to ODIsandt20

  •   Cricinfouser on March 19, 2017, 13:07 GMT

    As for People Placing Fakhar Zaman in the middle order I want to remind you all he is an opener. yikes !!...I hope management on the tour don't make this mistake and play him as a middle order or lower order or even as a one down...PLEASE play him at his original position which is as an OPENER where he has been performing in domestic for more than 3 years. We have an unfortunate history of playing talented newcomers out of their original position and ruining their confidence.Please don't repeat the same mistake with high class performer like Fakhar Zaman who could be a future asset for us an opener in all 3 formats. Btw we could also utilize his slow left arm bowling in ODIs ..has very good avg (23) and economy (just 4.32) ..much better bowling figures than the likes of Iftikhar,saad nasim who we have tried ln past 2 years in different series.

  •   Cricinfouser on March 19, 2017, 12:58 GMT

    Overall a good selection. Inzi bhai should be given a credit where due - selecting new players on merit. 1 Faheem Ashraf - Medium Fast bowling All rounder - Brilliant with the ball in domestic ODIs, hopefully has got the ability to hit big with the bat at 7 or 8( has 2 FC 100s) . 2 Fakhar Zaman -Opener- has been the best opener in domestic cricket for 2-3 years now in all the formats with a brilliant record,(should have debuted for Pakisan 1 and a half year ago) showed his potential in PSL too and he can also bowl a bit. 3 Asif Zakir- Middle order batsman -Again a high class performer in domestic ODI circuit for some time now should have given a chance in ODIs few years earlier. 4 Asghar - very good record in all the formats, I hope he plays atleast 2 ODIs on the tour. 5 -Shadab -Highly rated leggie and a good batter with first class century under his belt..shows his potential as an allrounder I hope all these guys play and don't sit on th bench entire tour and get dropped for th next

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