Shoaib, Younis included in Pakistan squad

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Shoaib Akhtar and Younis Khan have been named in the Pakistan squad to provide much-needed experience in the wake of Inzamam's retirement

Shoaib Akhtar and Younis Khan have been named in the 15-man squad for Pakistan's short trip to Scotland. While Younis opted to honour his county commitment by making himself unavailable for national selection after the World Cup, Akhtar not only missed the World Cup due to injury but was also left out of the squad for the Abu Dhabi series against Sri Lanka.

Chief selector Salahuddin Ahmed said Akhtar's fitness is a good omen for Pakistan. "A fit Akhtar is an asset for Pakistan and we have watched him bowl so he was included," said Salauddin after picking the squad to play hosts Scotland on July 1 in Edinburgh followed by an ODI against India in Glasgow on July 3.

Akhtar, too, was delighted to be back in the national fold after proving his fitness as he was dropped from the Asian squad for the recently-concluded Afro-Asia Cup on fitness grounds. "I am happy and look forward to play for Pakistan once more. I have been bowling with full throttle and intensity and hope to do well," he said.

Younis, former vice captain, also returns to stabilise the middle-order after previously making himself unavailable for Pakistan until the end of the county season. Fawad Alam, after a disappointing debut in Abu Dhabi, has been retained in the squad but there is no room for the tall Najaf Shah due to the presence of the experienced quartet of Mohammad Sami, Umar Gul, Mohammad Asif and Rao Iftikhar. Mohammad Hafeez was dropped as well after playing only one match in the Abu Dhabi series while Abdul Rehman, the left-arm spinner, also missed out as Pakistan chose to rely on allrounders for the spin department.

Pakistan squad: Shoaib Malik (captain), Imran Nazir, Salman Butt, Younis Khan, Yasir Hameed, Mohammad Yousuf, Kamran Akmal, Fawad Alam, Shahid Afridi, Abdul Razzaq, Umar Gul, Shoaib Akhtar, Rao Iftikhar, Mohammad Asif, Mohammad Sami.

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