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Final 15 announced for World Cup: Sohail, Ehsan the aces up Pakistan’s sleeve

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Skipper Misbahul Haq (middle) will be hoping to win the World Cup and may bank on the likes of relatively inexperienced players Sohail Khan (left ) and Sohaib Maqsood (right). PHOTO: AFP

KARACHI: Fast-bowler Sohail Khan has forced his way into the Pakistan 15-man World Cup squad on the basis of his performances in the domestic cricket, while the Moin Khan led selection committee has kept faith in the abilities of Umar Akmal and Sohaib Maqsood for the mega event.

Leg-spinner Yasir Shah has also been added to the touring party as the think tank feels he could prove to be a difficult customer in Australia and New Zealand with the extra bounce on offer for spinners.

Meanwhile, young pacer Ehsan Adil has been inducted due to his ability to move the ball both ways, while Umar Gul failed to satisfy the selectors with his fitness in ongoing Pentangular Cup.

The squad looks balanced as the selectors opted to go with specialist pacers instead of fast-bowling all-rounders sucha as Anwar Ali and Bilawal Bhatti.

The only major talking point in the 15-man squad is the overlooking of Fawad Alam, who has scored 948 runs in 35 ODIs at an average of 45.14.

Moin explained that Bhatti and Anwar were overlooked because the selectors wanted to go with specialists. As for Fawad Alam, he stated: “We only had 15 slots and it is unfortunate that Fawad could not get into one of those. He is a fighter and there is a lot of cricket coming up after the World Cup so he is in our plans for those series.”

Meanwhile, Sarfraz Ahmed will be used as the third opener if required as the selection committee could not agree on a suitable reserve opener.

“Sarfraz is a very positive player and he can succeed even as an opener in Australia and New Zealand because of his positive mindset. As far as Umar and Sohaib are concerned, they provide us with dynamism and we need players down in the middle order who can play big shots,” explained Moin. “Shoaib Malik was considered but we kept faith with Haris because he has done well as an all-rounder.”

PCB high-ups were against Malik, Kamran inclusion

Malik and Kamran Akmal were not selected because senior PCB officials were unconvinced with their track record at previous major events.

“The PCB top brass was not in favour of Malik and Kamran because they haven’t done well in big tournaments,” a senior PCB official told The Express Tribune. “Their track record was kept in mind and selectors were told to prefer younger blood over them.”

To fine-tune preparations, the PCB has decided to organise a short training camp which has been scheduled from January 13 to January 17 at the Gaddafi Stadium
in Lahore, while the team will leave for New Zealand on January 21.

Published in The Express Tribune

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