Sunday, June 22, 2008

Pakistan include Ajmal for Asia Cup

Pakistan have named offspinner Saeed Ajmal in their 15-member squad for the Asia Cup, which starts on June 24.

Ajmal, 30, made a mark in the 2007-08 first-class season, taking 38 wickets in 12 matches at an average of 29. "Ajmal has impressed with his wicket-taking ability and can also bowl one which goes out like former spinner Saqlain Mushtaq and we hope he does well in this tournament," chief selector Salahuddin Ahmed said.

Pakistan didn't have a specialist spinner in their squad for the one-week long Kitply Cup, which they won after beating India in the final. Shahid Afridi and Fawad Alam were used by captain Shoaib Malik, who himself didn't bowl due to a sore shoulder. However, he will have more options for the Asia Cup with Ajmal and legspinning allrounder Mansoor Amjad in the team.

Kamran Akmal had been left out of Pakistan's list of 20 probables for the tournament, with the selectors opting to hand the wicketkeeping gloves to Sarfraz Ahmed. Akmal had been Pakistan's regular wicketkeeper since November 2004, when he took over from Moin Khan, playing virtually non-stop in all three formats. However, his inconsistency behind the stumps since the 2006 tour to England has finally cost him the place in the side.

Other players to be dropped from the squad for the Kitply Cup are batsmen Bazid Khan and Naumanullah and fast bowler Sohail Khan.

Pakistan play their opening game of the tournament on June 24, against Hong Kong in Karachi.

Pakistan squad

  • Shoaib Malik (capt), Misbah-ul-Haq, Fawad Alam, Iftikhar Anjum, Mohammad Yousuf, Nasir Jamshed, Salman Butt, Shahid Afridi, Sohail Tanvir, Umar Gul, Wahab Riaz, Younis Khan, Sarfraz Ahmed (wk), Mansoor Amjad, Saeed Ajmal

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