All ‘big names’ in preliminary T20 World Cup squad

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

KARACHI: Pakistan on Tuesday named their 30-man preliminary squad for the inaugural Twenty20 World Cup and almost all their leading players are included in the list.

Contrary to speculations that national selectors might overlook a few aging stars, the extended squad includes all the big names besides having place for a few rookies as well.

Young all-rounder Shoaib Malik would lead Pakistan in the Twenty20 World Cup to be held in South Africa in September. Pakistan are to announce their final 15-man squad for the 12-nation contest in August. Pakistan have been placed in Group D of the event alongside old rivals India and minnows Scotland. The Twenty20 World Cup would be played from September 11-24.

The preliminary squad includes premier batsman Mohammad Yousuf, whom many thought might not be considered because of his unimpressive fielding. In the fast-paced Twenty20 version, a player’s fielding abilities are regarded as vital. Also in the list are pace spearheads Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Asif, who missed this year’s World Cup in the Caribbean because of fitness and doping-related problems.

However, the pace duo is now fully cleared to play international cricket after the Court for Arbitration of Sport (CAS) dismissed an appeal by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) against them. The bowlers failed a drug test last September and had to miss the World Cup where Pakistan were knocked out of the opening round following a shock defeat against tournament underdogs Ireland.

Former vice-captain Younis Khan, who has not played for Pakistan since refusing to lead the team following Inzamam-ul-Haq’s resignation this March, is also included in the list.
There are some new faces in the team like Khurram Manzoor, Khalid Latif and Sohail Tanvir. Leg-spinner Danish Kaneria, who was dropped from Pakistan’s ODI squad after a disappointing World Cup is also included in the squad.

A Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) official said that the national selection committee would announce the final squad for the T20 World Cup next month during the final phase of the national training camp in Karachi next month after consultations with the team captain.

Preliminary squad: Shoaib Malik (capt), Shahid Afridi, Younis Khan, Mohammad Yousuf, Yasir Hameed, Fawad Alam, Salman Butt, Imran Nazir, Abdul Razzaq, Kamran Akmal, Shoaib Akhtar, Mohammad Sami, Mohammad Asif, Umar Gul, Rao Iftikhar Anjum, Imran Farhat, Khurram Manzoor, Khalid Latif, Mohammad Hafeez, Misbah-ul-Haq, Naved Latif, Faisal Iqbal, Shahid Yousuf, Yasir Arafat, Sohail Tanvir, Zulqarnain Haider, Mohammad Irshad, Najaf Shah, Danish Kaneria, Abdul Rehman.

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Will Pakistan Premier League gain success just like Indian Premier League ?