Pakistan dropped mystery(or maybe not) off spinner Saeed Ajmal from their 15 man squad for test matches against Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka starting this month.
Ajmal, ever since his return to international cricket, after being banned by the ICC for illegal bowling action, has been off colour and largely ineffective against the batsmen. In the tour match before the test match against Bangladesh, Ajmal picked up one wicket and couldn’t make it to Pakistan XI for the test match as spinners Zulfiqar Babar and Yasir Shah took the two spinners spots. In the two one day internationals and one T20 which he played on the tour, he could take only one wicket and the batsmen looked relatively at ease against him.
The International Cricket Council banned the Pakistani offie last September after he was found to straighten his elbow to 43 degrees, significantly above the legal limit of 15.
The other exclusions from the squad were of Babar Azam, Bilawal Bhatti & Sami Aslam, and the trio of Rahat Ali, Sohaib Maqsood and Sohail Khan were still unavailable due to their respective injuries.
Ahmed Shehzad, who was dropped after both Tests and ODIs squad to Bangladesh after the World Cup, on the ground of disciplinary issues, came back to the test team. Shan Masood and Ehsan Adil too were selected in the 15 man squad.
PCB Chief Selector Haroon Rashid said that the performances of Pakistan A players on tour to Sri Lanka were also considered, but it was surprising to see that both Umar Amin and Fawad Alam miss out on the team.
Haroon Rashid said, “While selecting the squad, the selection committee considered the following key areas: suitability to play in varied playing conditions, potential to perform at international level, current form and fitness, performance in the previous tours of Bangladesh and recently concluded Pakistan A team’s tour of Sri Lanka, and feedback from the team management on the performance of players on Bangladesh tour.”
He also explained the reasons for the exclusion of Fawad Alam and few other players.
“Fawad Alam, Sami Aslam and some other players were also under consideration but could not be included but they remain on the selectors radar. Rahat Ali (hamstring), Sohail Khan (back) and Sohaib Maqsood (wrist) are still on rehab after sustaining injuries and it is hoped that they would be available for selection in the near future. Selection committee has also kept its options open in case of need for the 16th member keeping in mind the extreme weather conditions in Sri Lanka.”
Pakistan’s 15 man Squad: Mohammad Hafeez, Ahmed Shehzad, Shan Masood, Azhar Ali (vc), Misbah-ul-Haq (capt), Younis Khan, Asad Shafiq, Haris Sohail, Sarfraz Ahmed (wk), Yasir Shah, Zulfiqar Babar, Wahab Riaz, Junaid Khan, Imran Khan, Ehsan Adil.