Younis, Afridi in HBL squad for final

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Habib Bank Limited (HBL) have named a strong 15-man squad for the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy final against Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL) to be played in Karachi from January 7. The squad is bolstered by the inclusion of current internationals including Shahid Afridi, Younis Khan, Danish Kaneria and Abdur Rehman. Hasan Raza, a former international and HBL's captain during some of the round matches, might captain, though Afridi and Younis are also in the running.

Imran Farhat and Taufeeq Umar, the two openers who took part in the Indian Cricket League (ICL), have been omitted on the orders of the PCB while Umar Gul, the fast bowler, has yet to recover fully from the injury sustained on the tour to India.

While HBL looks set to field a strong side on Monday, SNGPL might be missing out on the services of Umar Akmal for the final. Akmal, younger brother of Pakistan wicketkeeper Kamran, has been called up to a Pakistan Under-19 camp in Lahore to prepare for the tour of Sri Lanka and the U-19 World Cup next month.

Akmal has made a terrific impact this season, having scored 849 runs in eight matches in the current Quaid-e-Azam Trophy - his debut first-class season - at an average of 94.33. His tally includes 248 against Karachi Blues as well as an unbeaten 186 in the match against Quetta that was abandoned following the assassination of Benazir Bhutto.

SNGPL will, however, have the services of Mohammad Hafeez, their captain, who has scored 639 runs in nine matches as well as Misbah-ul-Haq who scored an unbeaten 32 in his only outing of the current domestic season.

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